01/07/2013 01:56 EST | Updated 03/09/2013 05:12 EST

Montreal student group proposes housing co-op

Montreal students are hoping to convert a long-empty downtown building into a student residence co-op.

The Îlot Voyageur building, just north of the city's old bus terminal, was a failed project launched by the Université du Québec à Montréal. Along with the bus terminal, the university had originally planned to build student residences in the building.

A group of seven students, some of them members of UQAM's urban planning department, have formed an organization called UTILE, which aims to increase housing for students in the Latin Quarter.

The group is proposing that 1,000 residences be built inside the Îlot Voyageur.

UTILE, which claims to have the support of the CSN and the FTQ labour unions, said it's concerned about the absence of housing developments for students in Montreal.

At the centre of UTILE's campaign is Montreal's Special Planning Program (SPP). According to the student organization, the SPP plans to create 2,000 to 3,000 private housing units in the downtown core, which UTILE says would increase rental prices and property value in the area and would increase the price of student housing.