Credits: FILE PHOTO
The Quebec government has put one of the province's biggest boondoggles in history - the Ilot Voyageur - on the market, smack in the middle of the 2012 election campaign.
Potential buyers of the abandoned concrete structure that features the now infamous escalator to nowhere above Montreal's bus terminal must sign a confidentiality agreement with real estate agents before they can even see information about the property.
A Quebec crown corporation, the Société Immobiliere du Quebec, aims to recover some of the more than $300 million in public funds pumped into the money pit since 2005.
Montreal real estate brokers Sylvain Bernèche (Courtier RCSI), and Robert MacDougall (Jones Lang Lasalle), were hired to handle the sale, newspaper notices published Monday said.
Up for grabs is the Ilot's northern section, located between Berri, Ontario, and St. Hubert Streets.
The Crown wants written expressions of interest from potential buyers by Sept. 28. The city of Montreal estimates the value of the three parcels for sale at $29.6 million.
The University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) launched the Ilot project to build extra student housing and parking, but the effort became a financial disaster that almost pushed it into bankruptcy.
Quebec bailed out UQAM by buying the Ilot site for $200 million.
A report by Quebec auditor general Raynaud Lachance blamed former UQAM Rector Roch Denis and then vice-rector human resources and two top aides for mismanaging property projects. Denis resigned.