Issuu on Google+

the empress analog Institute A proposal for the revitalization of the Empress Theatre, 5560 Sherbrooke St W. March 11, 2012

by The Empress Cultural Centre Inc.


Letter from the President, Empress Cultural Centre Inc

The Board of the Empress Cultural Centre (ECC) is pleased to submit our proposal to redevelop the former Empress Theatre on Sherbrooke St. West to the Cote-des-Neiges / N.D.G. Borough as per the guidelines of the Appel public de proposition pour un projet de revitalisation relatif à l'immeuble situé au 5560 rue Sherbrooke ouest. (Soumission NO CDN-NDG-12-APP-DCSLDS-001) The Empress Cultural Centre, has been a volunteer-run, community based, nonprofit organization charged with the mission of revitalizing the former Cinema V building at 5560 Sherbrooke Street West, and return it to full use as a cultural meeting place and platform for Montreal’s extensive artistic community. The ECC is incorporated under the Canada Corporations Act and has charitable organization status (#14356 0985 RR0001) - a valuable asset for the continued development of the project. Our proposal is the result of an extensive collaboration of local residents, business leaders, community organizations, citizen volunteers and the very generous help of a dedicated development team led by Phil and Anthony O’Brien of Pur Immobilia and architect Talia Dorsey of the Commons Inc. The contributions from this diverse pool of talented and dedicated people has served to enrich the quality of our project, ensuring that it meets the needs of the local residents and manifests the true potential of the building within a broader context. As a strong commitment to our proposed project and its potential realization, we have reformed the ECC with a dynamic new Board of Directors. Each one of the new directors bring with them extensive expertise and exceptional talent. We feel extremely confident in their collective capacity to see this project to completion. They bring with them new energy and a committed focus on building this very


innovative project with the collaboration and input of the many communities that will be served by a revitalized and radically re-conceived Empress. We are genuinely excited about the innovative and creative combination of social economy business, cultural offerings, and unique for-profit ventures that have been integrated into this proposal. This project, in its whole and in its parts, respects the Empress Cultural Centre principles of Culture, Community and the Preservation of heritage value. The different components have been created to maximize use of the space and sustainable revenue, while ensuring that the varied uses will complement each other effectively through time. As indicative of the positive response to this truly imaginative re-thinking of the Empress, we have received extensive support from individuals and organizations that have come forward to offer their skills and expertise. In addition to these many letters and expressions of support, we have also obtained important endorsements for our concept from the business and cultural communities of Montreal. Included in our submission is a Letter of Intent from Douglas Bensadoun, vice president and creative director of ALDO expressing his financial interest in the venture (a commitment further reified by his action of joining the project as a director of the ECC). The social economic potential of the project has further solicited strong interest from funding bodies dedicated to such developments. The CDEC Cote-des-Neiges/Notre-Dame-de-Grace has expressed a committed interest

in pursuing financing opportunities for the project. However, due to the limitations of their own selection criteria, this commitment can only be fully explored once the project’s position is secured through its selection by the city. The McConnell Family Foundation has equally expressed enthusiastic interest in pursuing opportunities to support the project, as evidenced in their appended letter. We are confident that this enthusiasm will be further solidified and matched once the project is endorsed by the city, and effective conversations between all stakeholders can commence. We believe that we have created a true projet rassambler for the community and the city at large. An idea that our community and city is ready for, and will continue to enthusiastically support. We are available to answer any questions you may have about our submission. Thank you for your consideration of our proposal.

Sincerely,

Paul Scriver PrĂŠsident, ECC


introduction

Community Clientele Cache International Artists Events / Festivals Content Exchange International Cache

Education / Resources Cultural Programming Community Event Space Community Hub Economic/Cultural Catalysis

empress

Diversity Multi-culturalism Clientele Education / Resources Cultural Programming Cultural Hub Local Accomodation

Cultural Hub Production space Education / Resources International Venue

lo

ca l

c

on

te

xt

g nd

a re nt mo

l

/ al on ti na i at rn te in on

al

Artists Events / Festivals Clientele Archival Content Content Exchange

Education / Resources Cultural Programming Western Cultural Node Event space International Profile Artistic Production Centre


The empress analog institute approach The Empress theatre is a historically significant building – both architecturally and in its traditions – at local, municipal, national and international levels. As an Egyptian-style art deco theatre, it is an historic remnant of a stylistic movement of continental proportions. Today only 10 (of more than 100) such theatres still remain in North America, and the Empress the only remaining in Canada. It once ushered in the era of atmospheric cinemas in the city – an increasingly endangered species, and acted as a significant cultural node in the west. Throughout its varied history it was always a home and a reflection of the community of which it was a part – the collective memories of which remain active and dear across the multiple generations that experienced and participated in its lore. In contemporary terms, the building represents a site of great potential. It is situated within an area of the city undergoing rapid evolution and demographic shifts; it is located at the intersection of major urban arteries that connect it directly with the rest of the city; and it carries an aura of authenticity and history that is both rare and unique (and deeply sought after) within a far greater context. Our project is rooted equally in these two facets the building’s heritage and its contemporary potential. It is thus a proposal of both historic preservation and of contemporary innovation.


introduction

empress film Institute Cache Artist Clientele Artist Workshops Archival Content Cache

$$ Artist Residences Guest Accomodation

empress LOFTS

Cultural Programming Artist Productions Community Productions Cache

Guest Acommodation Clientele Artist Clientele

empress Venue

Cache

Clientele Clientele Cache

empress KITCHEN

$$ Clientele

$$

empress Cafe/Bar


programmatic criteria The rigorous criteria for the program were derived from this unique intersection of history and contemporary potential. We felt it imperative that The Empress: - be directly engaged and reflective of its community as a site for active program, outreach and education

The operating and financial model for the project is thus defined by strategic innovations that connect to the most relevant of contemporary trends and innovations. Underpinning all the programmatic decisions was the desire to: - channel as much activity and financing through the social economy of the area

- act as a cultural hub and urban catalyst for the west and south-west

- provide a platform for continued innovation, education, engagement and stimulus related to each of the programs

- interface with and complement the cultural character, activities and institutions of our contemporary city

- support positive and sustainable social and cultural trends within the city and at large

- participate within the significant cultural movements of our era as a continued platform for national/international engagement and exchange

We believe that only through these important criteria can the true potential of the Empress be realized – doing justice to both its legacy and its potential, within its walls and beyond.

Furthermore, to ensure the longevity and continued performance of the Empress to its fullest, it was imperative that the determined program be not only financially self-sustaining and viable in the short, medium and long term, but be comprised of entities that could mutually reinforce each other through time – or in other words, entities that could constitute and grow as a whole far greater than the sum of its parts. Lastly, one of the distinctive and intangible facets of the Empress that we felt important to preserve and translate into contemporary terms, was its ongoing tradition of contemporary engagement. As mentioned above, its inception was stylistically and programmatically rooted in the zeitgeist of its era. It was also an extremely modern and innovative structure for its time – built in reinforced concrete when this material was in its infancy of architectural application. This tradition of social relevance and contemporary innovation can – to varying degrees - be traced throughout its evolution. We sought to define a model of reuse that could once again make this facet of the Empress’s history explicit.

PROPOSITION The programmatic criteria that we set out for ourselves led us to develop the repurposing of the Empress theatre as the Empress Analog Institute a cultural hub dedicated to the most innovative practices in the preservation, perpetuation, education and diffusion of analog methodologies and technologies. The Empress Analog Institute would be comprised of:

1. the Empress Venues 2. the empress film institute 3. the empress kitchen/cafe/bar 4. the Empress Lofts


Program


the empress venues The Empress venues will be the public interface for the diffusion of the cultural activity hosted and sponsored by the Empress Analog Institute, and have been conceived according to the same rigorous criteria by which we have defined the project. The two primary spaces will architecturally reflect the twin interests of the project the upper level to be restored and revived as an atmospheric theatre, and the lower as a flexible multi-purpose contemporary space – particularly equipped to accept innovative uses, installations and programming. These two spaces will each have a capacity of 100-300 people, a scale that is of particular demand in the city. Beyond evening programming, the venues will additionally host a range of activities throughout the day to provide a constant stream of creative activity and optimized financial revenue. Dedicated on site technical staff will support the multi-purpose screening, performance and exhibition spaces that will together host: 1.

Music performances, and "The Empress Sessions"

2.

Community and city level special events

3.

Film-related programming of the Film Institute

1. Music Performances Over the last decade, Montreal has been asserting itself with originality and significance within the international music scene. The Empress venues are conceived as a central focal point for these activities, by stimulating, documenting and disseminating the extraordinary brand of musical creativity that is distinctively Montreal’s. The particular cache of this creativity has been evident in terms of international interest in local artists, as well as the rise in local and international artists performing, as well as recording within Montreal.


Program


The Empress is uniquely suited to engage with this contemporary potential because of its aura and authenticity - characteristics that are deeply sympathetic and sought after within Montreal's particular brand of musical production. It is also conceived to integrate directly with the ambitions of the Analog Institute, and furthermore differentiate itself within the market, by serving a unique and unprecedented function within Montreal. Both spaces will be equipped with state of the art facilities for the recording of live performances to analog tape - the definitive medium for sound archiving. This translates into The Empress being the go-to venue for artists recording in Montreal to publicly perform their unreleased material prior to their recording sessions. This represents huge potential, as it is both a recognized and under-serviced need within the recording industry (serving to facilitate the recording process that would ensue), while conversely offering unique cache to the venue as well as the basis of a definitive archive of the very unique recordings, dubbed "The Empress Sessions". These high fidelity recordings would on the one hand be archived within the institute, and on the other hand disseminated to a broad audience through radio broadcasts such as CBC’s “Canada Live” and through a web-based platform (similar to the NFB's), thus serving to cultivate the national and international reputation of the Empress Analog Institute.

2. Community and city level special events The commercial and critical success of the Empress will be ensured through the flexibility of the venue spaces, and their capacity to be used as maximally as possible. The venues represent a west-end nexus to support the community and Montreal's great diversity of artistic and cultural output (e.g. private screenings; gatherings; conferences; symposia; workshops) as well as an optimal site to integrate the west within city-wide cultural activities and festivals.

3. Film-Related Programming The venues will be the main outlet for disseminating and highlighting a wide variety of contemporary and historical films, with a dedicated mandate to educate and engage audiences of all ages and degrees of film interest. The main curatorial objective of the programming is to revitalize the local artistic community by offering a unique platform for cultural exchange with national and international artistic productions and producers. The programming will include presentations by in-house and invited artists, curators, scholars and specialists from diverse fields as a means of fostering critical dialogue and exchange with the audience. This format of interactive presentations are a vital element in the nourishment of local film culture and the transmission of film knowledge - particularly that of Montreal's rich legacy, an incredible resource increasingly difficult to access beyond university circles or singular cultural institutions such as the Cinémathéque québécoise. Collaborations with universities and colleges (Concordia University, Université de Montreal) as well as local film journals (Hors champ, 24 images) will expand the scope of programming as well as educational and cultural outreach. Co-presentations with prominent national and international film festivals such as Festival de nouveau cinéma and Ann Arbor Film Festival (USA), among others, will also support the programming.


PROGRAM


THE empress film INSTITUTE The Empress Film Institute will be a unique place in Montreal, dedicated to the dissemination, creation and preservation of works on analog film; a crucible for creativity and a new home for analog arts.

One of the most critical components of the Analog Institute will be the Empress Film Institute, the home of the Double Negative film collective. The Double Negative Collective is a group of Montreal filmmakers, video artists and visual artists engaged with the exploration of the film medium using analog and digital technologies. A substantial proportion of the Collective’s activity is dedicated to program activities and the dissemination of works by innovative filmmakers from here and abroad. Within the Double Negative Collective are recognized members of the Montreal arts community’s whose works have received local as well as international recognition. The group, though very active since its inception, has long sought a place that will allow it to expand its activities and become an even more important vehicle for change in Montreal and its artistic community. The Institute will be a home for such development; its cultural impacts will, without doubt, be very important for the neighborhood, the city, and even internationally.
 The Film Institute will be divided into three sections, organically linked to each other: 1. Screening Rooms / Multi-Functional space (for analog and digital film projection, lectures, installations and multimedia performances) 2. Laboratory for education and development (creative workshops, facilities for developing analog film and photographs, editing suites and work spaces for an artist in residence program) 3. Archives (dedicated to the conservation of movies by Canadian artists).
 The Empress Film Institute would be a place for the dissemination, crea-

tion and preservation of film, devoted to the exploration of analog media, while embracing new technologies and innovative trends in contemporary art. This facility would be unique and is very necessary in Montreal. Despite a growing interest among Montreal artists and creatives throughout the world, a facility dedicated to the creation, preservation and education about endangered analog technologies and film is still missing in this city. Montreal is recognized as a major center for the creation of the avant-garde film, able to encourage and nurture an interest in such an institution – a cross between a movie theater, community space and a center of creation. We live in a moment in history where a true exchange between analog and digital technologies and artistic practices is both possible and desirable. The ambition of this project is to create an environment where such an exchange could be done through the transmission of knowledge and the presentation of cutting-edge artistic work. The Empress Film institute is a response to a growing demand from the arts community and a public eager to experience collective movie-viewing experiences as well as opening new avenues of self-expression and artistic exploration.
 The proposed activities at the Empress Film Institute aim to:

 - Allow the dissemination of contemporary film work, as well as seminal works of world film heritage - Provide creative, practical and theoretical educational programs to citizens of all ages that would be able to attend workshops, lectures, film screenings and take part in meetings with major creators from here and abroad 
- Create an innovative artist residency for established and emerging artists that allows for the creation and presentation of original works and for the sharing of their expertise through workshops and master classes



PROGRAM


- Ensure the conservation of a large body of analog films, reflecting the vitality of artistic creation within Montreal and Canada The Empress Film Institute would be a crossroads of creation and education. The institute would provide creative workshops for young and old alike, offer a film club dedicated to film history, provide access to analog filming, editing and processing equipment for artists and young creators, and provide a platform for the dissemination of works at the creative forefront of contemporary global film. In a very short time, The Empress Film Institute will become an important cultural reference point in Montreal and beyond. After conducting thorough and realistic budget estimates, we know that the Film Institute will be financially viable after only two years of operation. Funding will be provided by: - A diverse set of public sources: Montreal Arts Council (granting agencies), Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec (program support for the project and operation), the Canada Council (project support), SODEC (assistance for art house cinemas); - Collaborations with academic institutions, festivals and private foundations (private foundations and Chairs, Rene Malo Chair, Daniel Langlois Foundation, Chair in film conservation at Concordia University, FNC, Hors Champ magazine) that will share costs for some programs; - Revenue from, among others, subscription fees, ticket sales, nightly profits, income earned by renting space and equipment as well as income from the operation of creative workshops (see attached budget); The directors of the Double Negative Collective and those responsible for the Empress Film Institute have an impressive network of local and international contacts academic institutions, festivals and magazines, that will act as the mainstay financial partners to the Film Institute. Among these key partners are the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University, the Department of Film at the University of Montreal, the film magazines

Hors Champ and 24 Images, the Festival of New Cinema and the Suoni per il popolo Music Festival. International collaborators would inlcude experimental film distributors Light Cone in Paris, Vienna Sixpackfilm, Canyon Cinema in San Francisco, the Group Impopulare Workshop in Milan, etc.. With the support of this network, and based on the Double Negative Collective’s curatorial success at Segal Centre CinemaSpace (an average occupancy of 70-75%), and similar events as part of FNC Lab and for Hors Champ magazine at the Cinematheque Québecois, we are confident that we can reach and sustain a very wide audience. A solid fan base for the Empress Film Institute will be cultivated and sustained through varied programming tailored to several types moviegoers; local citizens, movie buffs of all ages, students and artists, filmmakers, musicians and the curious - and they are many - who want to experience a rewarding cultural alternative, supported by the enthusiasm and the outstanding curatorial expertise of the Double Negative Collective and their partners. Through its open and diverse programming, educational facilities and array of resources, the Empress Film Institute will be a creative dynamo within the greater Analog Institute. It will be a critical component in the revitalization of the Empress Theatre and will greatly add to the cultural life of the surrounding neighborhood by offering a place for education, creation and exchange. Here, cultural diversity, a recognition of the value of innovative art, and the talents and know-how of an expert team create the key conditions for a sustainable and historcially sensitive rehabilitation of an exceptional landmark in Montreal’s heritage and cultural landscape.


PROGRAM


The Empress Kitchen/CAFÉ/BAR The Empress Kitchen is a for-profit social-economy business that will operate an affordable, urban, family style, restaurant, a cafe-bar and small reception hall in the former Empress Theatre. Together these 3 operations will create a dynamic and convivial hospitality component for the renewed Empress Theatre where the joys of local food and drink are celebrated and local food production is honoured and supported.

selection of small dishes from the resto kitchen. The Cafe-bar will also offer a large selection of Quebec microbrews. There are currently no establishments in NDG specializing in Quebec microbrews. The popularity of quality micro-brewed beer has grown enormously over the past few years. A phenomenon that has not yet touched the west end of the city. The promotion of small quebec breweries will be a primary focus.

The Empress Kitchen will have a strong social mission, drawing inspiration from the Slow Food movement and restaurants like Philadelphia’s White Dog café, Bistro InVivo (Worker Cooperative) in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Santropol Roulant. This social mission will guide the business in developing a sustainable economic model that supports local food security, urban agriculture organizations and local businesses.

The Empress Kitchen - rooftop garden terrace will offer residents a special room with spectacular views of Girouard Park and the surrounding areas in a garden setting appropriate for all manner of small and medium sized events. From small wedding celebrations to organic gardening workshops the rooftop terrace will also be home to garden that will provide fresh greens for the resto and lush surroundings for guests. It is hoped that this rooftop garden will be developed in collaboration with Action Communiterre, a local urban agriculture organization that is considered a leading light in urban agriculture. The room would also be available for daytime use.

The Empress Kitchen - resto will capitalize on the public’s ever growing interest in local and organic food and drink by offering customers affordable, wholesome, home style meals and micro-brewed beer made from locally sourced ingredients. There is currently no place in NDG that offers healthy and affordable organic cuisine in a restaurant setting. The Empress Kitchen will be a destination for families, foodies, environmentalists and regular joes offering a lunch and dinner menu with old favourites, made new, in an atmosphere that tastefully combines an urban and rustic esthetic. The Empress Kitchen resto intends to bridge the gap between conscious organic eaters and fast-food eaters by providing delicious, healthy, affordable alternatives to traditional quick-service staples. The health-conscious customer will be attracted to the organically farmed offerings and in-store food education innovations, while the fast-food lover will appreciate new and familiar menu items and the superior taste that comes with fresh organic ingredients. The Empress Kitchen - café-bar will primarily serve the audiences of the renewed Empress performance venue with pre and post show drinks and a

Key Brand Attributes: Citizen’s Brand Community Supported/Supportive of Community Trustworthy / Genuine / Authentic / Transparent Visionary / Trendsetting Healthy / Wholesome Tasty / Delicious Conscious Consumer-Oriented Kid / Family-Friendly Technology-Enabled / Leading-Edge Forward Thinking / Youthful Eco-Effective / Green


PROGRAM Key Market Differentiators: Delicious, organically-raised, affordable food you can trust Triple Bottom Agenda (People, Planet, Profits) / socially responsible business Sourced ingredients from independent, local and organic farms Elevated operational/employee-management standards Source of honest information about food, health, environment Branded educational media

Support will also come from expertise being assembled for the new Empress Board. Michel Zabitsky (Reservoir - resto/cafĂŠ/bar) will offer support and guidance to help ensure the success of the project. Other members of this new board bring much business and design experience to this special project. Advisors: Jordan LeBel, Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, Concordia Univeristy Fiona Keats, Former Director, NDG Food Depot

Working Mission statement The Empress Kitchen is a sustainable community restaurant-bar and reception hall that works to promote local food security issues and initiatives in the arondissement of Cote-des-Nieges/Notre-Dame-deGrâce and the wider community. Supportive partnerships with local organizations and farms will be developed and will contribute to an innovative approach to local food security that is both economically and environmentally sustainable. Partnerships are key to realizing the social and economic success of The Empress Kitchen. Relationships with Zephyr Farms and Le Ferme Morgan have been established. Discussions have already begun, as mentioned, with Action Communiterre (AC) who have expressed interest in working with us to develop the rooftop terrace. Letters of support have been received from AC and the NDG Food Depot. These partnerships are central to The Empress Kitchen activities but they take time to develop. It is hoped that the terrace project will be the beginning of many innovative projects for our community. Urban agriculture is an important part of our future and provides many opportunities for innovation and popular education. Permaculture workshops, seed exchanges, 100 mile dinners and local school visits are some of the ways that we will tap into this spirit of sustainable learning.

Paul Shore, Social Entrepenneur James Solkin, Founder, Brulerie Santropol and Cafe Santropol Local food, food security and urban agriculture all fit squarley into the priorities of a great many government agencies and private foundations. From the UN to the City of Montreal, governments are recognizing the importance of the local food movement. L'Office de consultation publique de Montreal recently launched a consultation on the future of Urban Agriculture in Montreal. The Empress presents an important opportunity for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce to build on this interest and create a project that will benefit all members of the community. The Empress location offers innumerable advantages that would contribute to the success of The Empress Kitchen. The primary benefits are, of course, related to the proposed new Empress venues. Film, workshop and concert goers will be key to the financial success of The Empress Kitchen. In addition, the local population, with its high educational levels (45% of the population versus 30% for the city as a whole) and high median income (its high concentration of artists, teachers and social workers are the natural target market for The Empress Kitchen. This is evidenced by the large number of residents who participate in Community Supported agriculture programs as well as the 9000+ who are members of the Coop la maison verte. This facet has received attention and support from the McConnell Family Foundation, who have expressed their interest to pursue it further upon the proposal's selection.


Financial assumptions were based on conservative revenue and cost estimates. As a social economy business we will be pursuing funding through the CDEC CDN-NDG, the Reseau d'investissement sociale du Quebec and the Fiducie de chantier d'economie sociale. The CDEC, the instance communautaire for funding of non-profit social-economy projects, has said that they will wait until the winning project is selected before looking at any projects related to the Empress. If successful we will continue to pursue these and other private financial relationships to the fullest extent possible.


PROGRAM


the Empress lofts The upper levels of the Empress Annexe were once the residences of visiting artists and performers to the theatre. The Empress Lofts are conceived to revive this tradition in truly contemporary terms. Social Media lodging networks like Airbnb have been growing in urban markets across the world at an astounding rate. Traditionally driven by individual homeowners / renters renting out spare rooms on a nightly basis, the business has become so popular that it is now considered a major disruptor of the traditional hotel market in several major urban marketplaces and has become a significant source of income for individuals leveraging the network. Airbnb boasts over 100,000 properties across the globe, has achieved over 5 million nightly visits and the company now has a valuation of $1Billion. The average Airbnb suite in NYC is now earning over $21,000 a year, and many Airbnb hosts claim to have 80% + occupancy rates in their ‘home based’ offering. The Empress Lofts will be built on a business model that leverages Airbnb and other competitive networks (as none require exclusive listings) – including Montreal based enterprises like CorporateStays.com (that cater specifically to medical professionals). Additionally, the Lofts will support the extension of this operational model to local networks – such as the membership of the Coop Verte – so that they too can sponsor bookings and benefit from the percentage-based revenue. The network of interested parties in the Empress Analog Institute activities will also be a primary market that will be directly leveraged through an internal web-based booking infrastructure that channels the percentage revenue directly to a fund reservoir designated for supporting artists in residence of the Institute (thus channeled back to the lofts). The lofts will offer a differentiated product that is positioned between the hotel model and the ‘rent out my spare bedroom’ that has popularized this growing business. The social networks become the ‘marketing department’


PROGRAM


and the unique artist designed suites become a much more attractive option than neighborhood room rentals. By leveraging the Empress Kitchen, Caf��Š, Bar and Venue spaces, the lofts can be built with very little need for common space and very low staffing requirements. Building efficient room designs with very small floor plates, the lofts can compete aggressively on rental rates but draw a much higher rate per square foot than even a traditional hotel model. It used to be that small hotel rooms were for the budget traveler; today an efficient, slick, well thought out floor plan becomes a selling feature. The client that knows a hotel room is for sleeping and the city is for living will celebrate both the intelligent design and attractive low cost. The vision for the Empress Lofts is to create 12 individual apartments in the first phase at an average size of 200 square feet in the existing annex space above the ground floor restaurant. The concept is to create the raw space and then host a design competition for community based artists to plan and fit out each individual room with its own theme. With success a subsequent phase can be built at the back of the annex and incorporate the fly of the theatre for an additional 15 to 25 lofts. The business model forecasts a conservative occupancy rate of 45% per year and an average nightly rate of $85, making it very competitive in the Airbnb marketplace and well under-priced to competitive hotels. Due to the low operating cost and booking fees at 10% or less the lofts can achieve a profit margin above 75% and create an attractive unlevered return of just over 25% annually.

The Empress Lofts target audiences include: - Show audience and artists from Empress Venue - Artists in residence at the Institute - Visitors with Family / Friends in NDG and Westmount - Social Media network travelers looking for a more intimate experience than a hotel - Visiting staff / family / business to the new MUHC Hospital - Cultural and artistic travelers looking to experience the surrounding neighborhood - Empress Event and Retreat participants


board of directors

The former Empress Cultural Centre board has been strategically reformed to provide the expertise, backgrounds, and proven track records essential to the successful development of the project. Each member was carefully selected according to the specific and complementary expertise they bring to the project, as well as their unique abilities to apprehend and develop the concept as a whole.

CAROLINE ANDRIEUX Founder and artistic director, Quartier Éphémère / Darling Foundry cultural development & management / urbain & architectural revitalization Founder and artistic director of the cultural association Area Instant, she was particularly involved in the rehabilitation of the Darling Foundry, an arts center unique in Montreal that supports the creation, production and dissemination of works of art Visual and she has directed since its inception. She was at the heart of the establishment of several other alternative art centers including the Factory Hospital and Instant Instant in Paris, and has organized various exhibitions and major events in Montreal and France. For her dedication to contemporary art, Caroline Andrieux received the rank of Signet of Arts and Letters by the French Government in 2002. A graduate of a Master in Art History and Doctoral candidate at the University of Sorbonne (Paris), Caroline Andrieux is particularly interested in strengthening the presence of artists and affirm the role of art in our society. Through in-situ projects that have re-imagined the built evnironment and the establishment of a number of centres that bring artists and audiences into contact, Caroline Andrieux is actively involved in the recognition of contemporary art and especially the valuation of the emerging scene.

ERIK MOISAN Vice president, Gestionnaire de Portefeuille, RBC DVM finance and investment Working in the securities field since 1986, Erik Moisan has been Vice President & Portfolio Manager at RBC Wealth Management, International Investment Advisory, RBC Dominion Securities since 2006. Moisan completed the business securities course in 1987 (CSI), the Gestionnaire de Placement Acrédité certificate and became a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute in 1993. He obtained the (CSI), Certified Investment Management certificate in 1998 (IMCA / Wharton School), and the Alternative Investments certificate in 2007 (IMCA / Wharton School). Moisan is the president of the Montreal University Club and is treasurer on the board of a theatre organisation. Married with three children, he lives in Notre Dame de Grace, where he is actively involved in his community.


douglas bensadoun Marketing Vice President and Creative Director, ALDO Creative development / public relations / Marketing As Marketing Vice President and Creative Director for ALDO, he draws from his roots in image making and storytelling to bring new life to ALDO marketing initiatives and campaigns. Over his six year tenure at ALDO, there's been a striking shift toward a more elevated brand perception with increased media coverage and innovative marketing programs that have directly impacted the success of the ALDO business. Bensadoun has successfully lead his team to recognition accumulating various design awards and industry acclaim from business trade publications such as Drapers and Mashable. Having worked with some of the world’s most talented photographers, stylists, artists, and designers, he has a keen understanding of the collaborative creative process and how to translate artistry, without the loss of integrity, into public appeal. Prior to joining ALDO, Bensadoun worked in the film industry in Los Angeles and Canada, founding his own production company, Darling Films, where he directed and produced several award-winning films. His short At The Quinte Hotel, featuring The Tragically Hip front man Gordon Downie, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was greeted with critical acclaim.

justin evans Entrepenneur / Co-director, STABLE International Interdisciplinary Arts Centre strategic development / digital media strategy & marketing Justin's long career as a strategist in design, digital media, business and fine arts has included work with clients ranging from financial startups, fortune 500 companies, global non-profit agencies and avant-garde theatre, music and dance companies and performers. His digital strategy has helped launch 3 successful startups, created one of the worlds most popular WordPress plug-ins and has been instrumental in helping 2 books reach the New York times bestseller lists. He is currently involved in a number of entrepreneurial projects, runs an organic urban farm and co-runs STABLE, and interdisciplinary, international arts centre.

Paul Scriver Composer / Professor of Music and Sound Design, UniversitĂŠ Concordia project continuity / community relations / academic affiliation Paul Scriver teaches audio production, sound design and electronic music composition at Concordia University and Champlain College of Vermont. He is a musician, composer and sound artist. Paul has worked as a recording artist and as an audio professional for the past twenty years and has produced and engineered many albums. He returned to Montreal from an 18-year sojourn abroad in 2007 and moved to NDG in the spring of 2009. He has been the president of the Empress Cultural Centre since September 2010.


board of directors howard bilerman Directorr, Hotel2Tango Recording Studio music and recording industry Howard Bilerman is a Canadian recording engineer, producer, and Grammy nominated musician. He is a former member of the band Arcade Fire, having recorded & drummed on their debut album, Funeral,[1] as well as records by Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, Vic Chesnutt, Basia Bulat, Peter Peter, Rich Aucoin and Angela Desveaux. He runs the Hotel2Tango recording studio in Montreal along with Efrim Menuck and Thierry Amar of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt. Zion, and Radwan Moumneh.[2] Before that, he ran a studio in Old Montreal called Mom & Pop Sounds. In 2008, Bilerman joined the audio and music faculty at the Banff Centre for their first Indie Band Residency. He was also part of their fall 2009 & 2011 residencies. Bilerman has recorded over 350 records, including bands such as Molasses, Handsome Furs, Wolf Parade, Coeur de Pirate, British Sea Power, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, Thalia Zedek, CPC Gangbangs, Arcade Fire, Tiago Bettencourt, Black Ox Orkestar, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Grant Hart, Hrsta, Vic Chesnutt, The Dears, Basia Bulat, Angela Desveaux, The Henry Clay People, and Bell Orchestre. He is represented by Rough Trade Producer Management in London.

André Habib Adjunct Professor, Université de Montréal / Co-editor, Hors Champ film productio & culture / academic affiliation André Habib has been an associate professor of art history and film at the University of Montreal since 2008. He has authored books and monographs, and over one hundred articles on cinema that have published in Quebec, Canadian and international jounals. Since 2001 he has been co-editor, of the film magazine Hors Champ – the first French-language magazine on the Web dedicated to the cinema. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Cinémathèque québécoise. Since 2002, as part of the public activities of the journal Out of Scope (thanks to a grant from CAM), Habib has organized film programs at the Cinémathèque québécoise, in Paris (in collaboration with The Silo), and Caraquet New Brunswick (with the help of FAVA, etc.). Habib is a specialist in avant-garde, experimental and Iranian contemporary cinema. With an extensive network of contacts among local and international filmmakers, stakeholders from academia and critics and actors in the cultural milieu, he is an active and passionate force in the development of film culture and Montreal arts.

Michel Zabitsky Co-founder and Owner, Reservoir restaurant industry In 2002, after taking a course in brewing at Siebel Institute in Chicago, Zabitsky opened the well-known brew restaurant Reservoir with three associates. Resevoir is a microbrewery and bistro located in the Plateau Mont-Royal. Responsible for multiple facets of operation at Resevoir, Zabitsky is the brewer, restaurant administrator and manager in charge of human resources. 20 years ago, Michel Zabitsky started his professional career as a film technician, working in the field of sound recording. He is fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn the craft of filmmaking with analog 16 and 35mm while creating documentary films with National Film Board of Canada. In his film making career he has worked on numerous shorts and features within the filmmaking community in Quebec. Since 1995, Michel has been a member of the popular Montreal band Exhaust.


Jason Hughes General Coordinator, La maison Verte social economy / community relations Mr. Hughes is a native resident of the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce community and for the past 22 years, has worked as a community organizer and social entrepreneur in that community. As the Former Coordinator of the NDG Food Depot and the NDG Community Council he played a strong leadership role in a wide variety of community activities and actions from 1990 to 1999. In 1995 he helped found les Habitations Communautaires NDG, a non-profit housing corporation, and has been active in the growth and development of that organization since then. Since 1999, he has served as General Coordinator of the Coopérative de solidarité en environnement la Maison verte (an organization that he also helped to found). Over this time Mr. Hughes has worked with NDG residents to create a dynamic cooperative business (with more than 9000 members) working to improve the quality of life in the community. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Empress Cultural Centre Inc since the summer of 2010.

Jodi hope michaels Director of Communications, McGill Middle East Program continuité du projet / COMMUNICATIONS Jodi is director of communications of the McGill Middle East Program in Civil Society and Peace Building, and has been involved in local and international community development projects in New York, Montreal and the Middle East for some fifteen years. Jodi Hope Michaels acted as coordinator of the Empress project from 2004 through 2006. She later joined the board, to continue to drive the project forward, believing in the Empress' potential for the arts community and for NDG. Jodi brings a deep knowledge of the history of the Empress Project into the present. Her tenure as coordinator during a very difficult period in the history of the ECC gives her a unique perspective on the challenges of the project and an understanding of community dynamics.

board of advisors Dan Webster | President, Greenland Productions Warren Allmand | Retired Liberal Deputy / Président de Thomas Moore Institute / Professor of International Human Rights, McGill University / Former Secretary, ECC Pierre Lapointe | Vice-president and Director, Jaraslowsky Fraser Francois Senécal | Associate, Desbiens Senécal Boivin Business and Commercial Law Jordan LeBel | Adjunct Professor, Departement of Marketing, McGill University / Consultant et Specialist in Food Marketing and Food Security Fiona Keats | Former Coordinator, Dépôt Alimentaire Notre-Dame-Grâce Stephen Homer | Owner, Zephyr Farms Paul Shore | Executive Producer and Senior Strategist, Mojumbo Media Group Gavin Affleck | Architect & Co-founder, Affleck + de la Riva Architects Elsa Bolam | President & Founder, Geordie Theatre Productions / Former Vice-President, CCE Dane Lanken | Freelance Journalist and Author of “Montreal Movie Palaces, Great Theatres of the Golden Era 1884-1938”


project team THE COMMONS INC

THE COMMONS INC STRATEGIC DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

The Commons Inc is a design and consultancy practice centered on designing intelligent solutions for the development of our built environment. Our principle areas of interests and projects are contemporary cultural development; urban growth and large scale industrial/regional planning.

Founded in 2011 by Talia Dorsey, The Commons Inc has already received critical recognition within the city, being selected as a finalist and receiving the jury’s special mention for the National Smith Promenade Urban Design competition in Griffintown.

We operate as architects and a creative think tank. We seek to identify, clarify and navigate the ‘invisible architecture’ of a given project to design solutions that set public, private and common interests into as optimal a relationship as possible. These multi-faceted strategic designs elucidate a project from a big-picture perspective; offer a basis of research and analysis for intelligent development, and offer expert-driven guidance towards its realization.

Prior to founding The Commons Inc, Dorsey lived and worked in The Netherlands at the architectural firm of Rem Koolhaas – OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture). She there worked within AMO, their creative think tank division, on such projects as the Hermitage 2014 Masterplan (St Petersburg, RU), Zeekracht (North Sea masterplan, EU), Haus der Kunst (Munich, DE) and research projects on Preservation, 70s Soviet architecture, Lagos (Nigeria), et al. Her personal and professional work has received numerous awards and has been published and exhibited internationally.

With the increasing recognition of the importance of big picture sustainability and in turn, the potential of applied “design thinking”, The Commons Inc furthermore seeks to promote the critical relevance of strategic design as an emerging discipline.

In conjunction with her practice, she is Adjunct Professor at McGill University and has previously taught at the Université de Montréal, Harvard and MIT.

pur immobilia Founded in 2008, PUR Immobilia is a Montreal based real estate development company. An acronym for Perfect Urban Redevelopment, PUR’s primary focus is on the revitalization and redevelopment of strategic sites of historical and cultural significance in our city’s core. PUR’s current projects include the redevelopment of the historic Chateau Viger site in old Montreal as well as the revitalization of an heritage façade into a residential project named BANK at 221 St Jacques in old Montreal. Its original founder and President, Philippe Bernard, has driven over 75 individual residential projects as both a gen-

eral contractor and developer over the past 20 years. Phil O’Brien, PUR’s Chairman, was the founder of Devencore Inc., past chairman of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and drove the realization of both Place Mercantile and the World Trade Centre in Montreal. Anthony O’Brien, PUR’s managing partner and COO, is an accomplished real estate executive who most recently was a Senior Vice President for Intrawest. In his role he was responsible for over $1 Billion of real estate inventory in 42 projects at 14 resort locations across North America.


double negative The Double Negative Collective is a Montreal-based group of film, video and installation artists interested in creating, curating and disseminating experimental cinema. The collective seeks to locate cinema in human experience, in the eye, hand and heartbeat. Through experiments in form, voice and vision, we strive to create a dialogue long-neglected in the independent artist-based filmmaking community; a benevolent conspiracy of ideas. Since its inception in 2004, the Double Negative Collective has become the major presence in today’s experimental cinema scene in Montreal. As a body of celluloid practitioners devoted to exploring, disseminating and expanding the medium of film, and through its work organizing screenings, exhibitions and visits by Canadian and international artists the collective holds a unique position in the local and national arts communities. The collective has also cultivated relationships on the international stage with curators, programmers and artists’ collectives with similar vision. The activity and scope of the work undertaken by the collective is ever-expanding as film-artists focused on exploratory approaches to moving images and sound composition; as creators of time-based works in performance and installation arts; as programmers of experimental cinema and non-traditional documentaries. The distinct emphasis on formal experimentation in the moving-image situates the collective as a unique initiative

committed to the medium of celluloid and the analogue apparatus. The collective situates film art in a broader context of contemporary visual arts via new explorations with other mediums and disciplines to develop hybrid approaches as well as integrates analogue and digital technologies, unveiling radical aesthetics and redefining the importance of the legacy of experimental film art. With its core membership made up of active film-artists and with its own studio in place, the collective works together to create an identity and culture based on the notion of artistic activities as a communal laboratory for idea exchange and skill sharing. We strive to promote and extend this approach to other local artists in order to invigorate the artistic community. Consequently, our activities have drawn much attention not only from people in the film milieu but also from musicians, visual artists and critics of contemporary art. Our grassroots efforts and their positive impact have been recognized in the local community and resulted in our regular partnership with Cinéma Parallèle for the well-attended carte-blanche screenings. In relation to other artists and audiences, the collective prizes a communal experience; an informal, yet actively engaged approach to independent cinema and media arts. Its unique existence has had an undeniable impact on the shifting landscape of moving-image art and the notion of artist collectives in Canada.


Empress Analog Institute proposal