Luc Rabouin, Mayor of the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough and member of the Executive Committee responsible for economic and commercial development and design, and Richard Ryan, City Councillor for the Mile-End district in the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, today unveiled the largest artist studio protection and development project in Canada, which will provide nearly 900 artists with affordable creative space in the heart of Mile-End. As a result, 280,000 square feet of artists' studios will be protected thanks to two new agreements concluded through partnerships with the Regroupement Pied Carré and Allied Properties, and with Ateliers créatifs Montréal and Gestion Casgrain Inc.
Long-term agreements have been entered into to ensure continued accessibility to these studios. In addition, usufruct agreements have been concluded between the owners of the megastructures and the NPOs involved, which will help to curb property tax increases for the artists who will occupy these new spaces.
The regulatory changes proposed by the borough consist in lifting certain prohibitions related to the maximum surface area of office uses in the megastructures in the Saint-Viateur East employment sector, in exchange for which the property owners commit, through their new agreements with Regroupement Pied Carré and Ateliers créatifs Montréal, to protect and maintain large areas of affordable and perennial artists' studios, i.e. 165,608 square feet at 5445 De Gaspé, and 115,000 square feet at 5425 Casgrain
"Artists are essential to the social and economic vitality of Montreal, and the agreements we are announcing today will allow artists to continue creating in the heart of Mile End. Mile End is a distinctive part of Montreal that contributes greatly to our status as a cultural metropolis, and I am proud to work with our partners to ensure affordable creative spaces that will benefit nearly 900 artists. This historic partnership will provide stability for Montreal artists for decades to come. We are committed to preserving mixed-use, human-scale central neighbourhoods, and that is what we are delivering today," said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.
"In a context of strong real estate pressure, significant increases in property values and rent prices, many artists and artisans in the central neighbourhoods have had to resign themselves in recent years to leaving their living and creative work environments. By moving forward with these two exceptional agreements, we are ensuring that artists on the Plateau and in Montreal have affordable work spaces in the heart of a vibrant and creative environment," added Luc Rabouin, borough mayor and member of the executive committee responsible for economic and commercial development and design.
"Over the past few years, our team has worked hard with social economy enterprise and Mile End partners to mobilize the various players involved in bringing sustainable solutions within our reach to ensure affordable artist studios. I would like to thank all those people who have embraced the urban vision we have put forward for the Saint-Viateur East employment sector, which is now a huge success, thanks in particular to the many artists and craftspeople who live there," commented Richard Ryan, city councillor for the Mile End district, president of the commission on economic and urban development and housing, and responsible for housing in the Plateau-Mont-Royal.
"The Regroupement Pied Carré was born in 2010 to save artists' studios that were threatened at the time. It is with pride that we are able to measure, with today's announcement more than ten years later, just how far we've come since then, and not without pitfalls sometimes. The financial support of the Government of Quebec in 2013, the support of the City of Montreal and the Borough of Plateau Mont-Royal have allowed us to overcome these obstacles, together with the sustained involvement of Allied Properties and the complicity of Ateliers créatifs Montréal. Today, we have a truly viable, affordable and long-term project for a great many artists in Mile End," continued Martin Schop, Chairman of the Board.
"Ateliers créatifs Montréal works on the ground with artists, many of whom have often had to move away from the central neighbourhoods. The vision and actions that the Borough of Plateau Mont-Royal has taken since 2010 have really paid off: the Regroupement Pied Carré and Ateliers créatifs Montréal have been able to develop and evolve creative agreements with private partners such as Allied Properties and Gestion Casgrain Inc., with the result that creative spaces will be maintained here, in the neighbourhood, at the heart of an ecosystem and a market that is constantly evolving. This is a promising success story that must be preserved, improved and multiplied," added Gilles Renaud, Executive Director of Ateliers créatifs Montréal.
"Casgrain Management Inc. is currently working with Ateliers créatifs Montréal to conclude a long-term agreement that will preserve more than 115,000 sq. ft. of studio space for artists in Mile End. We are proud to share in this vision with the Borough and to join a larger project that will bring together artists and organizations in several megastructures in the area, creating a unique place, a piece of Montreal's cultural metropolis," said Gestion Casgrain Inc.
The agreements will be ratified by a notice of motion and a new by-law at the regular meeting of the Plateau-Mont-Royal Borough Council on Tuesday, September 7.