In 2011 alone, the International Village BIA and the Downtown Hamilton BIA accounted for nearly 40 new businesses in the core. Coupled with the announcements of all-day GO service by 2015, the creation of the McMaster Public Health facility at the corner of Main/Bay Streets, and the construction on a new Staybridge Suites hotel, there is a great sense of renewal in Downtown Hamilton.

To accelerate this growth, Hamilton City Council recently expanded the Community Improvement Project Area (CIPA) areas where the Downtown Financial Incentive programs can be offered. These programs are designed to provide very low to no interest lending opportunities, grants to downtown developers, building owners and businesses.  Work is underway to expand the relief to development charges policy in the newly expanded CIP area as well. Two new financial incentive programs include the Gore Building Improvement Grant Program and the Hamilton Downtown Commercial Façade Property Improvement Grant Program.  Further, up to a $650,000 incentive is planned to ensure a major Downtown grocery store is built, supporting the new residential developments underway.

Recent results where released from the City of Hamilton’s annual downtown employment survey, showing positive employment growth in Hamilton’s downtown core.  Lead by a nearly 20% growth in the creative industries sector, 75% of downtown jobs came from the private sector, with a total increase of 330 jobs over the 2010.  We are seeing not only a continuation of renewal downtown, but also feeling a renewed energy, enthusiasm and pride in the heart of our City.

“This is further justification that we are on the right path in terms of our long-term strategy for the downtown core”, said Glen Norton, Manager, Urban Renewal with the City of Hamilton’s Economic Development Office.  “I am certainly pleased with the growth of our creative industries as we position Downtown Hamilton as a great place for creative people and businesses, and that now seems to be resonating with the business community both locally and, increasingly from the GTA.”

The 2011 Downtown Hamilton employment survey records 23,925 jobs at 1,574 locations within the Downtown Hamilton Urban Growth Centre.  While 25% of the jobs are held by Federal, Provincial and Municipal government workers, the majority of employment is provided by the private sector.   The growth in the Creative Industries sector includes animation studios locating and expanding in the core, such as, Pipeline Studios, Huminah Huminah, Chuck Gammage and Elliott Animation.  With 165 new jobs, the growth in education includes the National Academy of Health and Business, College Boreal, existing McMaster Downtown Centre and the reopened Dr. J. Edgar Davey Public School.

The Downtown employment survey was first conducted in Downtown Hamilton in 2010, and expanded to include the community downtowns in 2011.  In the future, the Downtown employment survey will be conducted on an annual basis in all six downtown areas, to track changing economic conditions, and monitor the nature of employment and land use in the City’s downtown areas.

“Brick by brick, room by room, building by building, street by street, Hamilton’s downtown core is coming back to life,” said Norton.  “With an expanded suite of financial incentive programs and new areas in which to offer them, we will be working hard to improve on these numbers even more in the coming year.”

Visit www.investinhamilton.ca/downtown to learn more and be part of the renewal happening in Hamilton’s downtown core.

Written By Micael Marini

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

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