Mile End’s latest real estate listing reignites discussions on gentrification


a Sign “for rent” of Renowned Montreal real estate company Shiller Lavy spotted in the window of beloved SW Welch second-hand bookstore on St-Viateur Street has rekindled concerns about the impact of gentrification on the Mile End and its food scene.

Well-documented – and massive – rent increases over the past few years have caused the exodus of venues like queer cafe and show space Le Cagibi (now in Little Italy) and patisserie Chez de Gaulle (now in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu) in the vicinity.

Reacting to the news that the same could happen to an institution like former SW Welch Montreal Gazette food critic Lesley Chesterman took to Twitter to share her take on what a future invaded by Shiller Lavy’s property might look like: “Their idea of ​​a big business is Five Guys. I know because Lavy told me so, “she posted yesterday. Meanwhile, the Montreal community page @FNoMTL recalled subscribers the 55 percent rent hike that prompted the aforementioned Chez Gaulle to vacate its St-Viateur location.

While Shiller Lavy is by no means the only real estate developer to pick up lots on St-Viateur and elsewhere in the neighborhood, his yellow-etched purple signs have become a harbinger of more losses – and more chains. from stores like Lululemon brand yoga-pant and Aesop fancy soap dispenser. (For the record, other popular St-Viateur restaurants, such as Falafel Yoni and Bishop and Bagg, also rent from Shiller Lavy.) Below is a list of some of the major restaurant-related real estate controversies that the neighborhood has. known since May 2015.:

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October 2020: The St-Laurent location Рwhich once housed the famous H̫tel Herman restaurant Рis taken over by a boutique called Sugar Mamie, which sells do-it-yourself pop cake kits. It had been empty, covered in graffiti, for over three years.

September 2020: Old Montreal Mexican restaurant La Catrina is opening its second location in what once housed the café and revered Le Cagibi performance space. The prime-time location on the corner of St-Viateur and St-Laurent sat empty for nearly two years, presumably until a tenant with deeper pockets showed up.

September 2019: The Korean-Japanese restaurant Sushi Jinjin at 29 St-Viateur Ouest is closing its doors after taking over the space that previously belonged to the Clarke Bakery. The space now houses the Kotn sustainable clothing store.

July 2019: The pastry shop on rue St-Viateur Chez de Gaulle is ending its 13th anniversary. Shiller Lavy had hit him with a monthly rent increase of about 55%, from $ 4,200 to $ 6,500 per month.

november 2018: Le Cagibi closes its doors after the building’s new owners – Jeremy Kornbluth and Brandon Shiller, sons of Stephen Shiller, of realtors Shiller Lavy (who now own the property) – raise the rent for the cafe by more than 100 % from about $ 3,400 to $ 7,500 a month.

February 2017: Hotel Herman is evicted after owner Katerina Protopapas declined the restaurant’s offer of a substantial rent increase.

August 2015: The Clarke Bakery, a thirty-five-year-old Mile End landmark, is closing in part due to a rent increase from owners Shiller Lavy. Sushi restaurant Jinjin took over the space a few months later, in November 2015. (Frank Servedio, son of Clarke’s founders, relaunched the name in June 2018 with a cafe in Pointe St-Charles.)

May 2015: The Colombian restaurant Gracias Corazón closes its doors shortly after Danny Lavy and Stephen Shiller bought the St-Viateur building in 2014. It passes through several hands and is now home to the Portuguese chicken restaurant Emilia.

While vacant commercial positions have become increasingly ubiquitous in the region for some time, the pandemic has undoubtedly exacerbated the problem (like this compilation of Mile End vacant storefronts posted by @FNoMTL on Instagram yesterday). At first glance, however, “something is brewing” to ward off the wave of gentrification: the anonymous satire of the eviction from Montreal Twitter account shit life – whose name is an obvious joke on the contentious real estate agents – is planning a campaign to push back rent increases with the help of others saddened by news that another Mile End property has been “sentenced to death” .


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