Ten years ago I made a decision to run for City council based on the fact that Hamilton seemed to have lost its way. Conversations were more about the good old days with almost nothing said about the future, especially for our children and grandchildren. Hamilton is now by every measure a city on the move again thanks to strategic decisions made by our council which have resulted in record-setting development at a level we have not seen in over forty years. The projects highlighted on this page are only a few examples of Hamilton’s return to prominence as a dynamic Canadian city with a diverse economy, limitless opportunity and liveability.
The Royal Connaught Hotel
Hamiltonians would never fully believe that the downtown core was on its way to revitalization as long as the Connaught stayed dark and empty. There are few buildings that are as close to our heart as this grand old lady, holding so many memories of a vibrant and elegant past. After years of demise she has now come back to life with a spectacular re-opening and the promise of even more development on the site as the condominiums reach sold-out status.
James Street Baptist Church
We are blessed with a significant inventory of heritage properties which often present challenges for the development industry to adaptively re-use these buildings within a sound business plan. James Street Baptist Church might well have been levelled because of structural deterioration, but a plan is in place that saw the removal of part of the structure but retention of its historic façade to create a unique residential opportunity steps away from the Hunter Street GO facility.
The Port of Hamilton
The Port of Hamilton is the busiest Canadian port on the Great Lakes with influence well beyond our city. Cargo shipments contribute almost $6 Billion dollars of economic activity and 38,000 jobs in Ontario. While our harbour is providing excellent recreational opportunities for residents its growth as vital commercial and industrial infrastructure is profound…..since 2008 35 per cent increase in agricultural commodities, and 52 per cent in general cargo. The Port of Hamilton is our gateway to global markets with millions of dollars invested in grain handling facilities, marine services, and eventually the clean up of Randle Reef.
Pan Am Stadium
Few things express the confidence in the future of our city within a sustainable financial framework than the new Tim Hortons Field. Here is an outstanding sports facility whose $150 million dollar construction cost has not added a dollar of new taxes to our residents. It is state of the art throughout, a fitting new home for the Tiger Cats on the historic site of so many great events in Hamilton history. It’s also lifting the surrounding neighbourhood precinct, which will be further enhanced by the $27 million dollar Bernie Morelli Seniors Centre and many other improvements to the quality of life in Central Hamilton.
New Residential Rental Property
One of the harbingers of development growth is the construction of new rental properties. This building rapidly nearing completion is located on the south side of Main Street West near Bay, across from the substantial condominium projects being constructed by the Vrancor Group. The developer moved to the City a few short years ago seeing what many didn’t, potential and opportunity. He built a new hotel farther down Main near Wellington, and seeing the need for rental units went ahead with this project.
Downtown Medical Centre
McMaster University will soon open a Faculty of Family Medicine with associated clinics in the new $80 million dollar building you see in the photo. To the west is the brand new Hilton Suites Hotel, the 12 story Federal Building condo project, and beside that the 25 story Bella Towers condominiums. Tucked in behind is another new hotel, the Staybridge Suites which opened in 2012, and which provided the first privately financed construction crane in Downtown Hamilton in 25 years, setting off the current building boom.
New GO Station
Out of sight of most Hamiltonians is one of our most important new pieces of infrastructure now under construction, the brand new GO Train station adjacent to the LIUNA Banquet Centre on James North. This project has already generated several million dollars in new development, including the stunning condo development at nearby 50 Murray Street. The new station is scheduled for completion in time for the 2015 Pan American Games, but its influence will extend for generations ahead. The goal is all-day two-way service between Hamilton and Toronto, which will augment the eight trains a day continuing from the Hunter Street Transit Hub. Our new station will be a transit gateway to the Niagara Peninsula with another new station being planned for the Stoney Creek area, and others beyond to St. Catharines and Niagara.
The stunning new Art-Deco-influenced City Square condos have brought a Manhattan feel to the historic Durand Neighbourhood at Park and Robinson Streets. Not so long ago the industry was saying there was no demand in the core for high-rise residential buildings. New Horizon saw it differently and are now constructing the second tower on the Thistle Club site which had sat empty for a few years since the old curling rink was demolished. The wrecking ball has given way to the construction crane which is the ultimate symbol of a community being revitalized.