Canadian Consulting Engineer

Montreal’s Palais des Congrs expands over expressway

CONVENTION CENTRETraffic hold-ups in downtown Montreal during the summer are normal, but this year vehicles are being diverted for a project being constructed right over the main expressway through th...

August 1, 2000  Canadian Consulting Engineer

CONVENTION CENTRE

Traffic hold-ups in downtown Montreal during the summer are normal, but this year vehicles are being diverted for a project being constructed right over the main expressway through the city.

The consortium Gespro/BFC/ Divco is in charge of the $239 million turnkey project to double the size of the 1960s Palais des Congrs off St. Antoine. In a complex engineering manoevre, the convention centre, which already straddles the Ville Marie Expressway, is being expanded further west over the road to cover a block from St. Urbain to De Bleury Streets. The expansion will reportedly bring many financial benefits to the downtown and revitalize a dreary area of the city.

The fast-track project is to be finished by May 2002. Gespro of the building consortium is a project and construction management firm affiliated with Genivar, which is one of three consulting engineer firms on the team. Two other consulting engineers involved are Pageau Morel & Associs and Dessau-Soprin of Montreal. Architects are Saia Barbarese and Michel Dubuc.

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The expanded 18,590-m2 (200,000 s.f.) centre will have a new official entrance on De Bleury Street, where the facade will be transparent, multi-coloured glass. On St. Antoine, the building will integrate the entire STCUM building and the facades of the historic Rogers and King Building and No. 20 Fire Station.

The project was first announced in 1998 but was delayed by controversy when engineers and architects objected to the initial selection process. The Quebec government then held a more transparent process with a committee that included Roger Nicolet, ing., president of the Ordre des ingenieurs du Qubec. They announced the winners last November. The Palais is aiming to attract 15% of the U.S. convention centre business in Canada.

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