“It is invisible since 1 year”

News 9 July, 2017
  • Photo Benoît Philie
    The manager of the Vaporus, Gabriel Lacasse (left), the owner of the eyewear Antoine Laoun, Antoine Laoun (center), and the manager of Geox, Éric Gagné, urging their neighbors to deconstruct that fence that night in their shops for over a year on the rue Sainte-Catherine.

    Benoît Philie

    Sunday, July 9, 2017 20:19

    Sunday, July 9, 2017 20:19

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    Of the merchants of the rue Sainte-Catherine say they have lost up to $ 200,000 and thousands of customers because of the work that drag on for over a year, on a neighbouring land.

    “It is almost invisible for a year, ensures Antoine Laoun, owner of spectacles of the same name. The city and the owners of the neighbouring building to return the ball and say they can not do anything, and we, we lose a lot of money “

    The store Antoine Laoun, located at 700, Sainte-Catherine West, in front of the Eaton centre, is literally hidden from the summer of 2016 by scaffolding installed by the owner of the building next door in preparation for work that have been stalled.

    During the passage of the Journal, the structure was still in place and overflowed on the half of the sidewalk. A sign “sidewalk barré syndrome” as well as a floor lamp and a terminal of parking, forcing pedestrians to pass by on the street, around parked cars and complicating access to shops Vaporus and Geox.

    Losses of $200,000

    Mr. Laoun advance have sold only fifty of sunglasses during the summer season of 2016, while it normally sells around 500 during the summer.

    In total, he estimated its losses at $ 200,000, or 20% of its turnover, since the construction of the fence just before the Grand Prix 2016. And the debacle continues this summer, he insists.

    “My three other stores on the South Shore and in Montreal are going very well, so this is not a brand problem,” says Laoun.

    At Geox, the manager Éric Gagné also ensures that have lost a lot of customers since last year. “The last year has been the worst in seven years. It has lost up to 40 % of traffic in some weeks “, he laments.

    According to the meter installed at the entrance, approximately 400 to 500 customers under the age walk through the door of the trade each week this year since the beginning of the beautiful season.

    Out of patience with the problems that have been building up for a year, the boutique Vaporus, located at 712, rue Sainte-Catherine, for its part has moved to the autumn after three years of activities. “They demolished everything to the side and forgot to insulate the wall then, it blew up our pipes in the winter. We lost everything “, said the manager Gabriel Lacasse pointing to the ceiling of the building, on which was laid a large tarpaulin.

    Future work

    The company of electronic cigarettes is currently suing the real estate developer Shiller Lavy for the losses incurred due to water damage and could also join Antoine Laoun and Geox in a class action against Lavy soon.

    The three traders are also fearful of refurbishment work-major that will totally block the rue Sainte-Catherine in this sector at the beginning of 2018.

    “It’s scary, with what you have seen on Saint-Denis and Saint-Laurent. They have never delivered, ” says Eric Won, making reference to the many premises remained vacant on both of these arteries after the major work of the city in recent years.

    For his part, Antoine Laoun is especially discouraged by the attitude of the City, who seems to want nothing to do to resolve the situation, all the more that it pays more than $ 100,000 in taxes per year for the past 19 years to do business at this place.

    “You pay a lot of money, but you have no respect for the City. If you are an inspector and you find that the fence is there for one year, you must take action, ” he laments.

    On the Town side, it indicates that everything is in order and that the owner of the 710 holds the permit to maintain his fence in place.

    “The borough conducts regular inspections of the premises. The last visit by a municipal inspector took place [last week], ” said the spokeswoman Anik De Repentigny.

    It also ensures that nearby stores have always been accessible.

    The City and the bad luck

    The owners of a building under construction for over a year, on Sainte-Catherine accuse the City and the bad luck for the delays in their project.

    “It is a misfortune that we have had with the condition of the building, and now the City is telling us : the time, this is the time, sorry sir… we just wait for the gb to start the work,” says a project manager at Shiller Lavy, who prefers to conceal his name so as not to interfere with the development.

    The company had to demolish the building at 710 rue Sainte-Catherine West last year in realizing that the structure was outdated during renovations. “We thought we could keep it, but it was all crap, and all over,” he said.

    The delay

    A scaffold has been mounted in front of the property to block the hole, and reserve the space necessary for the reconstruction of the storefront, but the City was slow to authorize the construction of the new building which is expected to take four months in total.

    “It would cost more to undo the scaffolding and rebuilding it. Then, we decided to leave him there in the meantime “, says the promoter, who pays the City each month for the right to encroach on the sidewalk.

    On the side of the City, it is said that it is normal time.

    “The proponent has modified its proposal. A new permit application is currently under review by the district “, adds the spokesperson Anick De Repentigny.