Park Ex business owners fight gentrification
Business owners at the corner of Ogilvy Ave. and Hutchison St. in Park Extension are getting the boot.
Their landlord has given them notice that the mixed-use building is going to be transformed into apartments, with no room for merchants.
Vathany Srikandrajah has been running Sri Durca furniture in the same location for 22 years.
She said other tenants began moving out earlier this year, and that's having an effect on customers.
"People know this place is closing down so even though I am here, there are not sure that I'm here or not," said Srikandrajah. "Everything is finishing here... Dying."
The building was purchased by a new owner, BSR Group, which has told Srikandrajah she must vacate by early December.
BSR Group said it gave all tenants the amount of notice required by their leases.
Mohammed Azizul Haque of Marché Pardesh said he received 32 days' notice, which is not enough.
"How can I leave within 32 days? This is a supermarket. I cannot leave within 32 days. I need more time," said Haque.
Ron Basal, the manager of BSR Group, said the location is ideal for the project it wants to build and would transform the neighbourhood by attracting families, immigrants, and successful professionals.
"Location, location, location. It's a great location, we love the location. I think Park Ex, as you say, it's poor but the way it's going, there's a new development coming in the city. Like St. Henri, Verdun, Griffintown. These were poor areas, and now it's getting better and better," said Basal.
Community groups in Park Extension disagree, and say redevelopments like this one will force out existing residents. According to a 2013 Centraide survey, Park Ex is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada.
"He's clearly a businessman, he not here to support the people of Park Ex, he's there to make money," said Andre Trepanier of the Park Extension Action Committee.
Advertisements for the new apartments describe them as fully-loaded units near a culturally diverse, trendy and artistic neighbourhood.
Trepanier said that type of marketing is taking advantage of Park Extension.