Montreal to revive its centenarian theatre as multiuse space

by Steve Randall11 Mar 2020

A heritage Montreal building is to be revived as a community gathering venue combining cultural and commercial space with affordable housing.

The Empress Theatre will be redeveloped by the borough of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDN-NDG) working with the Société d'habitation et de développement de Montréal (SHDM).

The SHDM will be awarded a $250,000 grant by the Borough Council to enable it to create several plans for the development which may involve partial or full demolition of the existing building.

The plans are expected to include:

  • A cultural component, including a multipurpose hall for community activities
  • A residential component for affordable housing
  • A commercial component focusing on artistic expression

Montreal’s housing market has seen a strong start to 2020 and the additional affordable housing will be welcomed amid rising prices.

Built in 1927, the Empress Theatre is located at the corner of Sherbrooke and Old Orchard and was a bustling entertainment venue featuring burlesque, dinner theatre, and repertory theatre.

However, in 1992 it was damaged by a major fire has been inaccessible since.

“NDG residents have been waiting a long time for the Empress Theatre's rejuvenation,” said Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery. “Today, the interminable intermission is over! We are taking action to give the neighbourhood back this hub for community gatherings and cultural activities, while adding a component dedicated to housing.”

A citizen consultation on the project will begin in April 2020.

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