It has been close to 62 years since the iconic Pointe-Claire plaza first opened – and now it has been put up for sale. It was originally an open-air shopping center and eventually became a closed mall, but it is still filled with local merchants and mom-and-pop shops. Although the plaza’s management had put it up for sale a few weeks ago, they only advised the merchants about it this past Wednesday September 23rd. Customers from the West Island area, who have frequented the plaza for many years, have been reminiscing about all the times they have spent shopping there and meeting up with friends for lunch or a cup of coffee. They are also voicing their concerns over it being potentially sold to someone who would turn it into another apartment building or condominium development.
The City of Pointe-Claire administration has faced a lot of criticism in the past for approving several large developments – and now there are concerns about a residential development at 575 St John Boulevard. It would see 225 rental units housed in a 10-storey building, with entrances on Chaucer Street and Maywood Avenue, creating a significant increase of traffic in a quiet residential area. There are also security concerns with schools nearby and a school-bus stop at the corner. In response to their apprehensions, the City posted this note on their website on September 23rd:
“PLAZA POINTE-CLAIRE UP FOR SALE – THE CITY REITERATES THAT THE LAND IS LOCATED IN A COMMERCIAL ZONE
The City of Pointe-Claire notes that Plaza Pointe-Claire has been put up for sale and reiterates that, according to its Zoning By-law, the current building and its land are located in a zone that only allows for a shopping centre and facilities intended for this purpose.
Anyone acquiring the land and building will therefore be required to comply with the zoning criteria, which stipulate that the building must be a detached structure no more than three stories high whose units allow for the following activities: Offices, Shops and services, Restaurants, Fast-food restaurants, Cultural facilities, Indoor recreation facilities, Greenhouses and nurseries, Pet shops and services.
Plaza Pointe-Claire is a privately owned shopping centre built in 1957 and 1958. Its sale is a private matter and does not in any way involve the City of Pointe-Claire.”
However, this does stop a new owner of the property from potentially seeking a zoning change from the city. It would be sad to see the plaza turn into another large cement structure, while the need for more ‘green’ space has been the cry from environmental and climate change experts everywhere. Having the Pointe-Claire Plaza remain, as much as possible, a local shopping center that has just about everything one needs (even without any big-box stores) is good for the community in more ways than one.