Plaza St. Hubert, a one-time Montreal retail hub that has recently fallen from prominence, will be getting a major influx of cash.

On Sunday, Mayor Denis Coderre announced a $50 million investment into the area, with the goal of revitalizing a part of the city that has been hit hard economically.

“We are putting in all the efforts to make sure this wonderful street will keep its cachet, but at the same time enhance the infrastructure itself,” said Coderre.

The plans for the street include narrower roadways and wider sidewalks that will be lined with trees. There will also be a new awning that won’t block second floor windows.

Work is scheduled to begin in June 2018 and will last until 2021. During that time, merchants that will be hit by the construction will be compensated by the city

Businesses near other major roadway projects on the Turcot Interchange and St. Denis St. have asked for similar recompense in the past but never got it.

“One of the important things is to give them tax relief during the construction because so far, we have seen in the past that it’s so difficult for them to even survive,” said Projet Montreal leader Valerie Plante.

The new plaza will have half as many parking spots as in the past, a design decision that Coderre defended.

“Sometimes it’s not just a matter of having a parking spot, it’s a matter of not having a parking spot,” he said. “It’s having the capacity to get out and get in and that’s my definition of fluidity.”

When told of the plan, some business owners expressed cautious optimism.

“I think it’s a very good thing to do a reshape of the street and make something very beautiful,” said Candide Café owner Michael Rossi.

Others were more pessimistic. Pascal Chapdelaine, owner of bakery Patisserie Les P’Tits Plaisirs, said he’s worried the roadwork will make his shop virtually inaccessible.

“It’s worrying because it will cause traffic,” he said. “Whether it’s cars or buses, only pedestrians and cyclists will come here.”