Thursday, October 11, 2012
Royal Victoria Hospital - how will it be re-purposed?
The building is set to be decommissioned in about 26 months, as the new MUHC superhospital should open in January 2015. And it's still unknown how this precious gem will be reused.
The obvious thing would be to sell it off as posh condos. It's hard to imagine that putting seven buildings onto the market simultaneously would have an impact on the local housing market but the building's proximity to McGill and the downtown area certainly suggest that it could fetch some interest.
When the issue was first discussed in 1998, some suggested that parts of the building be demolished, another proposal recommended turning it into 337 condos - 53 in the Ross Pavilion, 52 in the Allan Memorial Institute building, 62 in the Women's Pavilion, 71 in the Snell centre block and its west wing, 61 in the former nurses' residence and 38 in a proposed new wing on University St.
Some have suggested that the place be used for institutional purposes. Surely the usual suspects will be out soon picketing (making use of their ample free time) that 20 percent should be devoted to welfare housing and so forth.
I favour preserving the building and making the most money out of it as possible for the city, but it'd be nice to still be able to go up there to the pool and hang around, so may as well put some sort of library in it as well or something.
Addendum: Ville Marie borough rep told me today that the site is currently being evaluated by a working group which is assessing the heritage value of the site, which gets special scrutiny because it sits on Mount Royal. The MUHC seem to be geared up to change its vocation but have not yet submitted anything official to the city. Any change in vocation would be subject to public hearings.