An iconic cultural building in Montreal has finally found its purpose after years of neglect. In the near future, N.D.G's beloved Empress Theatre will become a mixed-use housing project. Borough mayor Sue Montgomery announced the plans for the theatre at a press conference Monday morning. 

Côtes-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is investing $250,000 to create definite plans for the dilapidated building, funding a study on how to best engineer the proposed housing project.

"As soon as I was elected mayor, I set to work to find a solid partner to create a new Empress Theatre. With their expertise in the development of complex real estate projects, the SHDM is an ideal partner," said Montgomery. 

"N.D.G. residents have been waiting for the renaissance of the Empress Theatre for a long time," she added. 

The theatre has been standing empty for over 20 years. In 1992, it was damaged by a massive fire and was passed between different owners — none of whom could figure out what to do with the now 93-year-old building. 

Here are the big things that N.D.G. residents should expect to come out of the Empress Theatre project!

 

Most notably, borough officials seem committed to making the proposed housing project accessible, writing in a press release that they envision a "residential component that can accommodate affordable housing," with dedicated living space for "buyers from the arts community."

But the theatre, which sits across the street from the Notre Dame de Grâce Park, will also see the revival of its function as a community cultural centre.

Developers hope to achieve a symbiotic living and artistic space, with an eye towards promoting local artists. 

In addition to housing, the renovated structure will eventually host "a multipurpose room for community activities" and commercial space "for artistic expression."

"The soul of this building will be preserved through the creation of a new venue. This addition will enhance the already vibrant cultural scene in the neighbourhood."

The borough promises that "the new Empress Theatre will become a must-see meeting place."

"This project will inject a good deal of sparkle into Sherbrooke West and will help businesses thrive," said Montgomery. 

The Empress Theatre, according to the borough, "was built in 1927 and, over the years, has played the role of theatre in various forms: burlesque, dinner theatre, and repertory cinema."

We can't wait to see what it becomes in its next life.

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