“Une bonne journée j’vas y retourner
Avec mon bulldozer
Pis l’centre d’achat y vas passer
Un mauvais quart d’heure”
– La rue principale, par Les Colocs
Soft snow blanketing the ruins of a demolished mall: just the thing I need to spark a bit of holiday cheer after a couple dreary days of Christmas shopping.
While Cavendish Mall is not nearly as deserted as other dead malls across North America, one of the anchor stores had been empty since Eaton’s closed in 1998. Last summer, the town of Cote St Luc released plans to demolish 40% of the structure – and take over a good deal of the parking lot – in order to build new homes (Andy Riga maps the site on on Metropolitan News). The town has also given the mall permission to build an 8-story home for seniors atop the remaining commercial space. There is already a CLSC on site.
The bad news is that the failed suburban-style mall (built 1973) will be replaced with a bran new suburban-style housing development – the kind of thing I thought we’d left behind in the last millennium.
The plan calls for 111 units including townhouses, semi-detached, and single-family dwellings – despite the fact that the block is currently flanked with mid-rise apartment buildings. The planners have even put in winding, dead-end suburban streets, ensuring that the new residents will have to walk something like 5 blocks to reach transit on Cavendish (I’m hoping there’s some kind of pedestrian infrastructure planned).
The mayor of Cote St Luc has said that the new development aims to provide affordable housing for families (although I have a hunch that what may be affordable by CSL standards would still be prohibitive to most Montreal families).
But the good news is that the lousy development choices of the past are not set in stone. Malls can come down, and with the right kind of vision, they can make way for something better.