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Mayor Valérie Plante Is Ready To Do Something About All Of Montreal's Vacant Storefronts

It's estimated that 15% of Montreal storefronts on main commercial streets are empty.
Staff Writer
Mayor Valérie Plante Is Ready To Do Something About All Of Montreal's Vacant Storefronts
  • Sure, Montreal has no shortage of places to shop, but did you know that nearly 15% of storefronts on Montreal's major commerce streets are vacant?
  • Mayor Valérie Plante now wants to revitalize certain areas deemed "economically important."
  • The plan? Well, one step Plante is taking is the "complete revitalization" of rue Saint-Denis.

While it may seem that Montreal has no shortage of places to shop, the City is soon going to conduct public consultations on the proliferation of vacant storefronts in the city's main arteries. According to reports, vacant storefronts make up roughly 15% of all stores on main streets like St-Laurent, St-Denis, and Ste-Catherine. 

Reaching out to business owners and residents, city officials are going to figure out what they can do to revitalize certain economically important areas of Montreal. According to Mayor Plante, "commercial arteries play a fundamental role in the vitality of neighbourhoods and in the economic development of the city. They are at the heart of the concerns of our administration. Montreal, like many other cities, however, faces a challenge of vacant premises". 

In Montreal, there are several indicators as to why so many storefronts lie empty. Rising rents and the advent of online shopping, along with other factors, have forced many local businesses to close their doors.

While the Mayor aims to tackle the problem as soon as September, some residents are blaming her administration for the many closed businesses.

Starting in September, the city will diagnose the current situation on Montreal's main commercial streets and will test out some new solutions. By January 2020, the city will release its findings and hold public consultations. 

While the Mayor's plans for public consultation have been praised by some Quebec business groups, some Montrealers are criticizing the Mayor, blaming her policies. 

Translation: The real objective of Plante's announcement is to give a boost to her mayoral candidate in the Plateau [...] when the problems of the city only serve political marketing.

READ ALSO: The Area Outside This Future REM Station Will Be Transformed Into A New Public Park

According to Robert Beaudry, head of economic and commercial development, the city has "put in place a number of measures to support trade, including a financial assistance program for businesses". 

The city is going to "aggressively" tackle the problem and expects to find a good solution in order to preserve the vitality of Montreal's commercial hubs. 

These consultations are all part of Project Montreal's action plan to revitalize the commercial and economic infrastructure of the city. 

Translation: Frankly, municipal taxes are too high, amongst the highest in the country. They're based on the value of the building where space is rented and not turnover, for example. It's impossible for many artisans and small business to deal with.

Since 2018, Montreal has unveiled a Trade Plan, reduced property tax for a business owner's first property assessment, and began a financial assistance program for institutions that are affected by major construction.  

Along with today's announcement, Mayor Plante also announced an action plan for the complete revitalization of Rue St-Denis.

According to Mayor Plante, "the Commission's consultation on economic and urban development and housing will provide an opportunity for trade stakeholders and the general public to hear about the key issues related to the vacancy rate on commercial arteries. It will lead to a series of recommendations and innovative solutions that will allow us to revitalize this vital sector of the Montreal economy". 

Evaluations are set to begin in September. 

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