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Massive Construction Projects in the pipeline for Hamilton

Story and Pictures by Nathan Reid-Welford

It looks like a bright construction picture for Hamilton over the next few years. That was the message as several construction and infrastructure leaders met at the Michelangelo banquet Hall on January 19 to discuss upcoming projects. Hosted by Hamilton Halton Construction Association (HHCA) the meeting featured presentations from Slate Asset Management, Hamilton Water, Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA), McMaster and Mohawk post-secondary schools, and Construct Connect.

Steve Dejonckheere, Senior Vice President of Slate, a global investment and asset management firm focused on real estate and infrastructure, spoke about the company’s ‘enthusiastic plans’ for two primary projects: Corktown, and the Stelco Redevelopment at bayfront business park.

He noted that founders Blair and Brady Welch were born and raised in the Burlington Hamilton area and that “this set of projects will be near and dear to their hearts. Investing in Hamilton has been an ambition and core principle of theirs and the firms for a long time.”

The Corktown project—a 542 000 square foot site located at John Street South—will be a 744-unit condo complex. It will consist of a high rise and medium rise connected by an underground parking garage. Market launch is set for later in 2023, with phased construction planned for 2024-2027.

At Bayfront, Slate has acquired the entirety of the 800-acre Stelco work site.

“Stelco will keep a steel mill on site as part of a long-term lease agreement. They will continue to be a core part of the property. However, that opens about 700 acres for development.”

Dejonckheere explained that Slate’s development will focus on the industrial and employment sectors but noted that the area can also offer opportunities for retail, amenities, and even public access to green space along the waterline.

The bayfront project will create an estimated 23 000 jobs, both construction and full time after completion. First phase construction is set for 2024 to 2026, with an expanded 2030 ‘master plan’ to create “an employment campus, centred around logistics and manufacturing, but also creating other opportunities.”

Also operating in the port and bayfront area is the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA). Described as a landlord port, HOPA has 140 tenant companies, and creates upwards of 40 000 jobs, and transports $3 billion worth of cargo in the Ontario Great Lakes Region.

Director of Engineering and Maintenance, Jonathan Wetselaar, spoke of the company’s need to attract investment, create jobs, facilitate trade, and diversify cargo beyond steel. Partially funded by Federal Stimulus with the National Trade Corridors Fund, Wetselaar highlighted a forthcoming $43.5 million investment strategy.

Three quarters of this investment will be spent in Hamilton. It will be used for several projects.

These include:

  • A major Hamilton Harbour maintenance dredging. This will remove the excess buildup of sediment.
  • Wharf Rehabilitation of Pier 14.  
  • Pier 15 Steel Transload Facility. Constructing 60 000 square feet of new covered storage for steel coils.
  • Eastport Boulevard Extension.

Hamilton Water was represented by Manager of Water and Wastewater Engineering, Stuart Leitch, who showcased the company’s Woodward Upgrades Plan and Capital Delivery Program.

Hamilton Water is in the midst of an extensive upgrade for its Woodward Facility. Upgrades have been divided into two parts. Phase one—focusing on water quality—consists of constructing a new main pumping station, an electrical power centre and generators, shifting to tertiary treatment, and a chlorine contact tank. This roughly $300 million phase is nearly complete.

Estimated at around $420 million, phase two is intended as a capacity expansion and asset renewal program. It is expected to break ground in 2026 and continue to 2032.

Additionally, Hamilton Water has a $350 million Capital Delivery Program plan for the surrounding area. $150 million will be allocated to upgrade the Dundas Wastewater Facility, $65 million used to build a new Greenhill pump station, and the rest invested in other projects of various scale.

Also present, were representatives from Hamilton’s largest post-secondary institutions.

Debbie Martin, Assistant Vice-President, and Chief Facilities Officer at McMaster laid out initiatives for: new buildings to support the influx and rising demand for student housing and activities, off campus learning facilities, and McMasters steps toward a net zero environmental strategy.

Housing:

  • Lincoln Alexander Hall. Set to open in the fall of 2026, will be located on Main Street and capable of housing 1366 students.
  • 10 Bay Graduate Residence. Located downtown at Bay and King Street, this will be a 30-story residence for older students, and feature apartments and various amenities. It is set to open in September.

Learning and Activities Facilities

  • McLean Centre.
  • Safe Projects Pulse Gym. Set to open in September and accommodate over 1000 students that utilize the facility on a day-to-day basis.
  • Life Sciences building. This building will be the first McMaster project to use geothermal.

The Life Sciences building is one step toward McMasters ‘aggressive’ net zero strategy. Though originally set for 2050, executives believe this is ‘too late’ and have since converted the plan to a 2030-35 strategy.

Martin emphasised that McMasters “goal is not to reduce carbon by pushing it onto the province, [so] strategies must be all encompassing.”

As part of this process, McMaster has begun installing electric boilers and is working to finalize a master plan that realizes its desire for more greenspace.

Martin also shared additional off campus projects:

  • Wilson College for civic engagement and leaders.
  • A Pandemic Preparedness project on Aberdeen.

Henry Colyn, the Chief Building and Facilities Officer at Mohawk College, presented the institutions expanded environmental plan, with targets of 80% carbon reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2035.

Mohawk is already a pioneer in environmental sustainability. Its Joyce Centre has been certified a zero-carbon design and zero-carbon performance building since 2019— meaning it generates more electricity than it consumes.

Future projects, namely retrofitting the E wing facility and building a new B wing, will look to follow the success of the Joyce Centre.

To close the event, Michael Guckes, a Senior Economist at Construct Connect provided listeners with a deep dive into specific economic trends and the fiscal forecast.

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