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Hamilton Royal Connaught Dead Again


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Aug 10, 2009
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i thought we had a thread on this building, but couldn't locate it.

i liked this affordable housing project, although many feel there would be a negative impact on king and gore park.

but the market can't support the conversion to a market value condo yet.

would have been a great way to bring life back to the building.

we've seen what waiting can do to these buildings.. especially in the hammer.
Connaught project funding denied

MPP 'hopeful' for next round

December 24, 2009
(Dec 24, 2009)
A proposal to turn the Royal Connaught into mixed-income housing has been shut out of the latest round of government funding.
The city was hoping to receive $12.9 million from a federal-provincial housing program to redevelop the vacant hotel into apartments, including 100 affordable housing units. The project had already been turned down for funding in the first year of the two-year stimulus program.
Now, the city has learned the Connaught, along with five other applications for affordable housing projects, was denied again.
"We're obviously disappointed," said Mayor Fred Eisenberger.
Council voted in September to name the Connaught project as its top choice of six local projects seeking funding from the stimulus program. If approved, the six projects would have brought 313 affordable units to the city.
Tony Battaglia, spokesperson for the group that owns the Connaught, was unaware of the news when contacted yesterday.
"I just don't know what it means, so I'm really not in a position to say anything," he said. "But it's very unfortunate, especially if there's no money being allocated to Hamilton."
There's still another chance to get funding. The city can resubmit applications to the province in February to see whether they'll receive a slice of the final round of stimulus cash. The six housing projects approved in September, including the Connaught, will have to be reapproved by council and resubmitted to the province.
Brent Whitty, Manager of Rental Housing for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said council will also have to reconfirm whether the Connaught project is still their top priority.
"It's definitely not the end of the game ... but they will need to commit that they are still interested and update their information."
Whitty said the Hamilton projects were not rejected, but projects in other cities that were at risk if funding wasn't approved now were given higher priority.
Sixteen projects with 1,200 units across Ontario received funding this round and will get $141 million in federal-provincial cash in April.
Sophia Aggelonitis, MPP for Hamilton Mountain, said she's "hopeful" about the city's chances of getting funding in the next round because its proposals are "fantastic projects."
The Spectator was unable to reach area cabinet minister and Ancaster-Flamborough-Dundas-Westdale MPP Ted McMeekin.
The Connaught project caused an uproar this summer among people wary of seeing the landmark used for affordable housing.
Dave Kuruc, owner of Mixed Media art shop on James Street North, said affordable housing "wasn't the right fit for the building."
"If you can develop that property and do it properly, I think you could easily shift the fortunes of King Street East and Gore Park."
Downtown Councillor Bob Bratina said with the success of the Pan Am Games bid and public opposition to the proposal, he hopes the Connaught will be reborn as a hotel.
"I don't think it's bad news for the downtown," he said about being shut out of funding. "Most people agree that they would prefer to see the Connaught revert to a hotel."
Though Eisenberger said he thinks it would be "spectacular" if the Connaught became a hotel again, he argues the Pan Am Games aren't enough to keep a downtown hotel afloat.
"That need is a two-week need, not a long-term need. There needs to be a greater critical mass happening to sustain it."
There should be an announcement any day now regarding the Royal Connaught. New proposal with new owners.
Very interesting Kiwi, please keep us informed!

It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of this property to the health of downtown Hamilton. It's almost heartbreaking to see the environment now around Gore Park and along King Street. I remember when Hamilton had a healthy downtown, and I hope to see it again ... someday ...
The current owners "Grand Connaught Development Group Inc" has gone bankrupt as of May 17th. Hopefully the bankruptcy judge will find good new owners.
August 2nd is when the auction happens. Will have new owners. Apparently there's some bidders that want to demolish the Connaught.
That would be a shame. Another parking lot, here we come.
As was said on SSP, demolition doesn't mean the hotel is going to come down. It could mean the rest of the block, which was going to happen under Stinson's proposals anyway.
It would be a shame to see the place demolished. It's part of Hamilton's character. Having said that, the end of the line may have come for the building. Anyone who wanted to actually do anything with it has had ample opportunity to do so by now, and the best use of the site is probably something else entirely.
Rumour has it that the Royal Connaught has been sold today to an out of town investor.
Again? Was this transaction separate from the August auction?
]This building must have changed hands more than any other in the city.
Work on historic Connaught building could start by fall

Development will start on the historic Royal Connaught Hotel as early as this fall, says Mayor Bob Bratina.

“I can tell you right now, you will soon be hearing about the Connaught. The developers, the property owners are now moving forward with a project,” said Bratina.

The mayor, Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr and the property’s developers met Wednesday to discuss the future of the historic building.

“It’s partly condominium. I think it’s phased, but you would have to call Ted Valeri or Rudi Spallacci,” Bratina added.

Spallacci and Valeri are area developers who hold the second mortgage on the historic downtown hotel. Neither could be reached for comment.

The hotel was purchased in 2005 for $4.5 million by a consortium called Grand Connaught Development Group. Its members included Tony Battaglia, former president of John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, hotelier Oscar Kichi and Oklahoma businessman Mehran Koranki.

That group was forced into bankruptcy in May 2010, when two other members — Spallacci and Valeri — called in the $4-million second mortgage they held on the property.

“I’ve had informal conversations with (Spallacci and Valeri) and they’re ready to go with Connaught as soon as this fall,” said Bratina.

Farr declined to comment on the details of Wednesday’s meeting, referring questions to the mayor. Asked if he also thought the project would happen soon, Farr responded “absolutely.”

“I always had confidence that a project of this magnitude at the nerve centre of our core was imminent, based on all the good things happening of late,” said Farr.

The mayor revealed the Connaught information while answering questions about the status of other downtown development.

“The fact is, there was a downturn in 2008. We had four hotels on the books planned and all the financing went down the tube. There was a hotel at Walnut and Main, there was the Hilton, the Staybridge and the Connaught and all those went dormant,” said Bratina.

“We’ve worked hard to get where we are, things are starting to move. We’ve had two major investors meetings today and yesterday.

“And I can’t give you any insight into what those meetings are about.”
That addition is the biggist insult to the Royal Connaught I have ever seen!!
It distracts from the true architectural beauty of the original structure, while imposing an ugly almost-brutalist style onto a skyline dominated by concrete.

I pray this latest attempt falls apart. Honestly, Harry Stinson's version even w/o the glass pyramid was leaps-and-bounds better than this joke of a proposal!
Wow, that's dreadful. What is with that large blank wall parallel to the Royal Connaught? The entrance looks like something out of the 1950's, like 17 Dundonald Street.