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45-storey waterfront tower a step closer to reality

45-storey waterfront tower a step closer to reality

As was first reported by Kathy Renwald in the Bay Observer in the spring of 2020, there is serious discussion underway about the possibility of a 45-storey apartment tower going up on the Pier 8 development. The prospect of such a tower came a step closer to reality Wednesday with the posting of an official notice that the developer, Waterfront Shores is submitting a development application to construct a tall building consisting of 45 stories containing approximately 429 residential units.

According to the submission the proposed tall building is intended to achieve landmark status serving as a visual anchor within the waterfront that is emblematic of the revitalization of the Hamilton Harbour. The proposed building is organized around two cylindrical forms, with a connection between the two towers below the 31st floor and with a singular cylindrical form rising to 45 storeys.

Hamilton-born architect Bruce Kuwabara who is part of the group developing Pier 8 told a Zoom meeting with residents of the North End, and staff from the city of Hamilton the tower “would be white, not dark, so that it would be like the clouds,”

The pitch for a high rise first came to light in a settlement between the city and a group of North End residents who challenged the Pier 8 development at the OMB objecting to the lack of affordable housing in the original Pier 8 plans.

Kuwabara who grew up in the North End of Hamilton said the tower would be visible from the High Level Bridge on York Boulevard, and in its form, would speak to John Lyle, architect of the bridge.

 “He was once of Canada’s most important architects, and he was from Hamilton. This building would be trying to speak to him.”

At the original Zoom meeting, of the 75 people who took part, surprisingly few objected to the idea of a high rise on the waterfront; but in a second public meeting in November of 2020, more pointed criticisms were made. At the second meeting there were concerns expressed about blocked views, parking and birds colliding with the building.

The tower would be near the former Marine Discovery Centre, essentially the western corner of Pier 8. The remainder of the Pier 8 development would stick to the original concept which consists of generally low-rise buildings, with commercial on the main floor and waterfront trail and boardwalk access for the public.

The City notice promises “an enhanced public engagement and design review process.” This will include setting up a design review panel.

More details can be found here.

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