The search for a viable, permanent use for the former Discovery Centre continues. The site has been largely vacant, except for the offices of the Hamilton Waterfront Trust since the Nightclub Sarcoa was evicted several years ago triggering a lawsuit that cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. Staff have been shopping the building to various city departments and there appears to be some interest by the Hamilton Public Library whose only north end branch at James Street North and Picton was closed in 2009. In addition to a possible library branch staff are suggesting other civic uses, including possible heritage-related displays. The staff report says, “A potential was identified to deliver historical and heritage programming, through cost-effective, flexible programming and exhibit space that can be used by multiple stakeholders as part of providing heritage-based visitor experiences. “
Staff are recommending that the public be consulted on future uses for the building and that talks with the Library continue. With major residential development soon to get underway, a north-end Library may become feasible again. The location is served by the A-Line bus route. The building has sufficient size to allow more than one use and staff are recommending a general real estate market assessment be done to see if it is possible to bring a restaurant and possible other retail uses back to the scenic site.
In its present state the building is costing $160,000 per year to maintain and this will rise to $230,000 when Waterfront Shores sets up its sales office some time in 2023, to begin selling the residential units that will be coming onstream in the massive redevelopment of the former Pier 8 lands. Staff estimate capital costs between $295,000 and $1.2 Million depending on the ultimate use of the building.