For three years the old site of the Royal Victoria Hospital has laid empty, but plans for the facility are finally underway.

With a $37 million investment from the Quebec government, McGill University is planning to take over a portion of the hospital, which hasn’t been used much since the equipment and patients were moved to the MUHC superhospital site.

“The project has reached a point where the government now sees it’s workable, so the $37 million is what’s necessary to get us to the starting line for construction,” said McGill’s Executive Director of Campus Planning and Development Cameron Charlebois.

The school plans to make the building a home for a sustainable systems initiative and the School of Public Policy. While the plan is only in the planning stage, Charlebois said they’re confident it will work.

“You don’t spend $37 million without intending to go forward with the project,” he said.

Under the plan, construction would begin in 2021, just in time for the university’s two hundredth anniversary, and be completed in 2026.

The overall cost of the project is estimated at $700 million.

“It will become a project about education and we are very, very pleased because the Royal Vic and McGill have been so close together for the past century,” said Quebec Minister of Higher Education Helene David.

The building will need some expansive upgrades, which will need to be done with care due to its Heritage Site status.

“It’s part of the landscape of the city,” said Heritage Montreal’s Dinu Bumbaru. “It’s right at the end of McGill College. You can’t mess up on this place, you have to do a great project, (not just) a good project.”

Charlebois said the school is well-aware of the Royal Vic’s historical significance and plans to proceed accordingly.

“The significant heritage pieces are going to be fully restored,” said Charlebois. “These are not things you can play around with lightly. The architectural envelope, the windows, the forms of the buildings will all be restored.”