News   Nov 14, 2019
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Hamilton LRT (Metrolinx/City of Hamilton, Planned)

mdrejhon

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(Same developer who's been adding a few towers to the Kitchener skyline! They want to raze the former bankrupt Eaton Centre....a bit controversial....but whatever is built there is all bit guaranteed to have more jobs, more successful retail, and more residences combined)

Developers who has been waiting for the #HamOntLRT has started to realize that our construction (real prep / utilities / early works) is really starting to happen, and are starting to move to add more cranes to our skyline.

The 3 bidders are already shortlisted and will be chosen (1 of 3) this coming Spring 2020 and things will start happening really rapidly after that.

A new BIA (Midtown BIA on Main/King that stretches through Sherman and Gage) is under formation which may also play a role in helping businesses survive LRT construction. There was a consultation meeting just a few days ago that I went to.

Mind you, I am not too happy about the city handling of many other things on their file -- but #yesLRT is rapidly reaching done deal status -- it's time to really push those shovels into the ground! Looking forward official groundbreaking ribbon in 2020 (likely after early works/demolitions/utilities, before successful bidder begins building).
 
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Amare

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^Big mistake on that Hamilton City Centre mall plan. There should really be an expansion and renovation of that waste retail "mall" known as Jackson Square. It's current state is just laughable, and razing the City Centre Mall for condos is going to do nothing to reverse that.
 

mdrejhon

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^Big mistake on that Hamilton City Centre mall plan. There should really be an expansion and renovation of that waste retail "mall" known as Jackson Square. It's current state is just laughable, and razing the City Centre Mall for condos is going to do nothing to reverse that.
Only “Condos”? I feel that is — an assumption.

Maybe justified from a typical Hamiltonesque low expectations as it may be...

...but the city has been giving some notable targeted TLC attention to that specific area. Lister, King William, Gore Park Reno, facade Reno’s on the facades near Lister Block, etc. And I read “Mixed-use”. Even newbuild condos in that area has been surprisingly “respectful”, like Templar Flats (that’s not a facadomy, that’s a newbuild!). And even the facadomies have been more TLC’d in that area. Not all agree, but it’s far better than other parts of the city getting more cookie cutter condos.

And that decrepit facades near Gore Park? Lister Block looked like that twenty years ago, shuttered plywood! The city won the saving of most of those Gore Park facades and it will gain the Lister Block style treatment (ultra Reno of original facade to sparkling 19th century-as-new frontage), against a developer that wanted to fully demolish those. Sure, we have to frustratingly put up with a bit of an eyesore for 2 or 3 more years, but — but all of this bodes well for nearby facades.

I wonder if it includes a mall. It may be a Lower City Cadillac-Fairview. That would be a mall demolish-rebuild that is 10x more successful.

Hamilton City Centre is garden variety 1970s McDonalds architecture with almost no redeeming preservation qualities. (And we don’t have decades/centuries to wait until that low-grade 1980s midway aesthetic becomes truly antique/vogue -- it isn't one of the better examples of the era). I don’t mind a more spectacular mall (with condos above it). Even Jackson Square retail likely will be more valuable than Limeridge Mall in 2030, because of whatever flagship replacement retail is built in the former City Centre. A real new anchor attraction, in a manner of speaking. So if that happens, I wouldn't worry about a Jackson Square reno (especially if one can now run Winterlude style festivals on a renovated High Line style plaza on roof, or whatever) -- this is City Centre we're talking about. Now, it may just be boring cookie cutter condos with only token sterile storefronts (that's even an upgrade from those blank brick walls facing James), and a typical Hamilton underachivement, but $700M is a lot to spend to underachieve -- that budget pays for literally a minor resort (by Hamilton standards at least) being included in the development. So I want to see the plans first.

I am waiting until the plans before I Judge A Book By The Cover. I need to see the plans.
....Does it include upcoming Cadillac-Fairview-run mall on the lower levels?
....Does it include a NYC High Line enhancement of the rooftop plaza?
....Does it include good non-cookie-cutter storefronts facing James St N?
....Does it include a flagship sports/amusement/department store/etc facility?
....Does it include affordable housing badly needed?

Probably not all above, but some of above.

The sources I saw indicates mixed use. City Centre outdoor streetfronts is garbage to that section of James.

Whatever is built needs to have mandated street-facing main floor retail fully worthy non-clashingly facing Lister, King William and surroundings. That is an easy low bar just be superior street facing storefronts, but it needs to be better than the low bar. Maybe to balance gentrification, throw in affordable/rent units, a new flagship YMCA+YWCA gym/pool, an inclusivity-focussed centre, affordable food with free food option (like “541 Cafe” on our Barton! But more inclusive, i.e. LGBTQ+), or other creature comfort that balances the gentrification caused by high end storefronts. A healthy mix?

Now, yes, the plans may be crap. But that’s not what the news guarantees. $700M mixed-uses tends to cover some 'attractions' that adds jobs/malls/retail/theatres/entertainment/complexes/etc. Some massively more than others, some less than others.

I’m awaiting seeing the plans before my obligatory bitching/fawning.
 
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