If you’ve ever been by the downtown western strip of Ste. Catherine, you’ve certainly noticed the crumbling, pigeon-infested skeleton that once was the Seville Theatre. Well, after almost 24 years of abandonment, the Seville as well as the surrounding block (formed by Ste. Catherine, Chomedey, de Maisonneuve and Lambert-Closse) will get a breath of fresh air! Claridge Properties, owned by the Bronfman Family, announced this week that it will completely demolish the building whose structure, despite being supported by large metal beams, was at most questionable. This will supposedly make way for a student project housing project with a tidy $100-million price tag.

The new block will be made up of a basic structure of 4-6 floors as well as 1 10-floor rise and another 25-floor rise. In all, the new structure will house 1 155 student dorms as well as commercial and community-oriented facilities. Of course, all of this is pending approval from City councilors this Monday evening. Construction, according to the press, is expected to be completed by the fall of 2011.

The area has been a slum ever since the red, white, and blue abandoned The Montreal Forum in favour of the Molson Center (now the Bell Center) in 1996. The Seville block in particular saw a few stores and merchants set up shop only to move away. Some city activists have even accused the Bronfman Family of holding on to the property with the mere hope of receiving easy money from local and provincial governments due to the Seville’s heritage status.

Fast facts:
* The Seville Theatre was built in 1929, 5 years after the Forum.
* The theatre housed 1148 patrons and had one single screen.
* It was one of 15 atmospheric theatres (the illusion of sitting under an open sky) in all of Canada
* The Seville’s name was inspired by it’s design, which borrowed from Spanish motifs.
* The theatre halted live performances in 1960.
* The last film to be shown at the Seville was “Stop Making Sense” on October 31, 1985.

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