Sainte-Catherine Street is closed in downtown Montreal on Friday afternoon due to the risk of a historic building collapsing.

Vehicles can no longer travel on the section of the commercial artery located between Robert-Bourassa Boulevard and McGill College Avenue, in the heart of downtown.

It is the risk of collapse of the Jaeger Building (682 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest) that forces this closure, confirmed the building manager. The two neighboring buildings — including the Super Sex Club — burned down in a massive fire in 2021.

The side facade of the Jaeger Building, uncovered for the first time in decades, is now in danger of collapsing. The building had also been damaged by the fire, but was still standing.

“The building has structural issues which we identified with our structural advisors earlier this week. We have taken certain steps to protect the public domain and to protect the public as well,” said André Jude, who manages the building, in a telephone interview.

“We expanded the safe zone today with the City. There are other wards that are going to be put up tonight,” he continued. Mr. Jude said he did not know when Sainte-Catherine Street might reopen.

Through the voice of their spokesperson, downtown merchants expressed their anger at this situation. “We are sorry for the situation which is very worrying. We hope that both the owners and the City will be able to secure the premises as quickly as possible to reopen the artery, ”lamented Glen Castanheira, of Montreal Centre-Ville. “The idea of ​​spending a weekend or even a week with a blocked Sainte-Catherine street is unacceptable. »

According to Héritage Montréal, the Jaeger Building has a “magnificent neo-Gothic façade in vitrified terra-cotta from 1914 that is little known and poorly maintained”. “The building has been vacant for a few years. It is obviously in lack of maintenance. In March 2023, masonry elements come off the building,” the group adds on its platform.

André Jude says the building was in “acceptable” condition until the arson attack.

682 Sainte-Catherine Street West belongs to a numbered company owned by billionaire Ben Ashkenazy, a New York real estate magnate.

The City of Montreal did not immediately comment on the case.