The revitalization of Montreal’s Peel Basin will continue even without a baseball stadium

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News that Major League Baseball rejected a proposal for Tampa and Montreal to share a ball club, the developers still support the project.

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Major League Baseball’s proposed return to Montreal might seem dead, but efforts to revitalize the Peel Basin region — which would have housed an all-new stadium — remain alive and well.

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MLB’s executive board has rejected the Tampa Bay Rays’ so-called “Sister City” plan to play half of their home games in Montreal within a few years, team owner Stu Sternberg said Thursday. . Sternberg and his Montreal partner, Claridge Inc. executive chairman Stephen Bronfman, both said they weren’t sure why MLB rejected the concept.

Since joining Sternberg two and a half years ago, Bronfman has often discussed the idea of ​​building a baseball stadium on the 40-acre lot near the Bonaventure Expressway known as the Basin. Peel. The investor, whose father Charles was the original owner of the Montreal Expos, told reporters on Thursday he would have to “let the dust settle” before considering possible next steps.

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“Does the end of the baseball stadium project threaten the redevelopment of the Peel Basin? I don’t think so,” said Michel Leblanc, president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, in an interview. “It’s such a well-located site that there are bound to be initiatives. Part of the stadium project included a plan to attract green tech companies to the area, and there’s a good chance that will happen regardless of the stadium’s fate.

The Peel Basin is among the regions being considered to host one of the new “innovation zones” that Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon is considering approving this year. Innovation zones are designed to facilitate cooperation between companies and universities.

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Although disappointed with Thursday’s news, Mayor Valerie Plante said her administration will pursue other uses of the land that had been earmarked for the stadium project.

“As mayor, I must take note of MLB’s decision and continue planning for the highly strategic area of ​​the Peel Basin, which can no longer wait to welcome the housing and businesses we need for the development of our city. Plante said in an email. statement shared by his office. “Our administration intends to work with the Canada Lands Company and the federal government so that the redevelopment of the sector takes into account the needs of the population. Montreal is a baseball city and I am convinced that it is only a postponement.

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Montreal property developer Devimco Immobilier also said it remains committed to the Peel Basin region.

“We have always said that Devimco intended to carry out a multifunctional real estate project in the Peel Basin, with or without a baseball stadium,” spokesperson André Bouthillier said by email.

The proposed stadium “was a community project,” Bronfman said Thursday during a Zoom press conference. “It was a grandiose project that included a sports component. I am not a developer, I am not Ivanhoé Cambridge. I don’t know what will happen. One day I would really like to share the vision. Montrealers should see the beauty we had. I would like to share these images because they were strong.

Peel Basin “was the perfect site for a ballpark because it’s so close to downtown,” Leblanc said. “The sad thing is that if Montreal manages to get a baseball franchise in five or 10 years, the field will no longer be available. The Montreal economy continues to grow and there will be other investors.

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