Picture a future Hamilton waterfront with hundreds of condos, shopping, restaurants and enhanced recreational facilities— something along the lines of Baltimore’s inner harbour. That is what could be the end game as Hamilton has finally reached agreement with the Hamilton Port Authority to take immediate possession of Piers 7 and 8—a 73 acre parcel of land running from MacNab street to Catharine Streets.
In exchange for vacating its long term lease on the property, the Port Authority will be given a 24-year lease to operate the city-owned marina currently occupying the land. As the staff report reads, the deal will “allow for the phased implementation of the City’s Waterfront Re-Development plans, that when fully built-out, facilitates over $500,000,000 worth of private-sector investment and $7,500,000 in new municipal tax revenue per year on the Pier 8 lands.” The half-billion dollar development is a reference to the city’s Setting Sail plan adopted for the harbour that would see a mix of low and medium density housing as well as commercial development. Unlike the Toronto Waterfront building heights would be restricted to between 4 and 8 stories and public access to the shoreline would be guaranteed.
The first tentative step in getting the land ready for development will be $2.7 Million in upgrades to the water and wastewater system on Piers 7 and 8. Between now and 2018 approximately $13 Million will be spent installing a new breakwater structure to protect the shoreline as well as major shoreline improvements, and upgrades to the slips and docks at the marina. The city has committed to help the Port Authority find a new boat storage area to replace the one occupying the development lands. As part of the deal both the Port Authority and the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club will be allowed to add additional slips to increase their revenue potential. The city will now share in some of the enhanced revenue from any expansion of the city-owned marine managed by the port.
The agreement calls for the city to have oversight of the marina through the appointment of a contract administrator.