Ideas

The Future of West Harbour and Barton-Tiffany

A re-imagined Rheem Factory is worth examining. Hamilton has an exciting opportunity to resurrect a piece of our industrial past and weave it into the fabric of new residential development.

By Matt Jelly
Published May 18, 2011

Since early last year, the City of Hamilton has owned 22 properties in the West Harbour Area. This includes a number of residential homes, a former gas station, an auto body facility, a metal recycling facility, and the former Rheem factory. These properties were acquired in anticipation that a Stadium would be built at this location for the 2015 Pan Am Games. Needless to say, that plan didn’t work out.

In the meantime, these structures have been sitting vacant, awaiting some sort of redevelopment plan for the West Harbour. Due to concerns in the neighbourhood, most of these structures will eventually be demolished.

Report PW11039: West Harbour Property Demolition Funding and Interim Use

Earlier this week, the City of Hamilton Public Works Committee received a report by staff on the demolition of the buildings now owned by the City of Hamilton in the West Harbour/Barton-Tiffany area. You can watch a video of the discussion here. The portion of the meeting that deals with the report starts around 37:30.

The report dealt specifically with demolishing a number of properties the City of Hamilton acquired, previously intended to be used for the proposed West Harbour Stadium. The report addressed demolition of all the properties except for the Rheem Factory at 128 Barton Street West, bounded by Barton, Tiffany, Stuart and Caroline Streets.

The report states:

the Rheem property, known as 128 Barton Street West, is excluded from this specific recommendation. Staff is already in the process of issuing an additional tender that combines the demolition of 128 Barton Street West with the abandoned portion of the former Firestone building at 1579 Burlington Street East. Staff intends to issue the tender for Rheem and Firestone buildings in mid-May 2011. Based on the large amount of steel contained on these two sites, it is seen as being attractive to bidders for the City to bundle these specific facilities together. This bundling could have the effect of a "zero-cost" for the City and even possibly stand a chance of collecting shared revenue with the bidder, assuming that the scrap steel market trends continue to be relatively high during the demolition of the sites. These results will be known upon completion of the tender.



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City-Owned West Harbour Properties - Barton/Tiffany/Stuart

West Harbour: Neighbourhood Destruction by Indecision, Contamination and Abandonment

At this point, it makes good sense to demolish the vacant houses on Barton West and Tiffany, as well as the former gas station at Hess North and Barton West, and to begin the total remediation of the former B & M Metals site between Caroline and Hess. The toxic site at Hess and Stuart, owned by Dave Maden, still needs to be cleared of the hazardous waste currently locked up onsite, and the site needs a total remediation, pending the conclusion of ongoing investigations by the Ministry of the Environment.

This neighbourhood, and the immediate neighbours of these sites, many of whom have lived for decades in this area, deserve to be heard - and they are in support of this demolition. These homes used to house their neighbours and friends - two of which have passed away since the City acquired their homes by essentially forcing sale of the houses through provincial injunction. These houses, now boarded up and vacant, represent bad memories for this neighbourhood.

In the two year-long political fumble over Stadium locations, this neighbourhood was left half-vacant, without a plan in sight. The time has come for the City of Hamilton to make things right in the West Harbour, and prove that they care about this area beyond it being an attractive location for sporting facilities.

While demolition of the houses is a priority for the neighbourhood, in talking to a few residents the idea of retaining and reusing the former Rheem Factory came to mind. There is of course some discussion that the building could possibly be badly contaminated, but for argument’s sake, what would the cost be to decontaminate this one building as it is, and adaptively reuse the structure for a future use? Isn’t it worth evaluating this option?

Rheem: Exploring All Options for Future Use

In January 2011, Mark Richardson posted a great piece on Raise The Hammer entitled West Harbour: The Three R's, exploring the idea of bioremediation of the contaminated sites, and adaptive reuse of the Rheem Factory, singling out the Rheem building as a prime candidate for adaptive reuse: "Soaring ceilings, bright and high chain sash windows, stunning structural metal… this building has everything needed for a great adaptive reuse. Leave it up and no remediation is needed where it stands. An indoor playground, retail space for artists, another good cafe, an interactive industrial museum… what can you envision in there?"

Rom D’Angelo, Manager of Corporate Building and Technical Services (Public Works) stated in meeting I mentioned above:

The condition of the building, the Rheem Property, the factory itself - the plant - is in pretty good shape, my concern is the office portion being vacant for so long, the systems in the building not being operational for that period of time, so it's deteriorated quite a bit. But the concrete construction and the steel construction of the factory keeps it in pretty good shape. There is some work that needs to be done, but at the time, our biggest opportunity at the moment is combining the Firestone Plant with the Rheem property and trying to get the best opportunity for the City at zero cost for the demolition of both those properties.

On the contrary, maybe a free demolition of this site in exchange for the value of the steel isn’t the best opportunity for the City - maybe an interesting reuse of this structure could be a bold symbolic gesture; as we remediate and in many ways redefine this neighbourhood, it would be a progressive move to rehabilitate this structure and find new use for it.

As development eventually takes place on the soon-to-be demolished residential plots, pending ongoing OMB appeals, a reimagined Rheem Factory could be an interesting symbol of transformation. Rethink Barton Tiffany is a group that has been calling for an adaptive re-use approach to the West Habour district, particularly in terms of the Rheem building.

The City of Hamilton could lead by example - resurrecting a large piece of our industrial past, and weave it into the fabric of new residential development. As a solid concrete and steel structure, this building is open to reinterpretation. Perhaps it could be a great example of post-industrial mixed-use cultural redevelopment. I believe we have the opportunity to do something unique in West Harbour.

Whether as cultural space, residential loft development, a museum space, or a mix of local retail businesses, I believe there can be many creative options for reuse using this now-City owned resource, and it would be prudent to at least have staff explore those options. Any development at West Harbour should have the support of the neighbourhood however - all good potential ideas aside, what’s important is that we carefully consider all options for the Rheem before committing it to the wrecking ball.


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Examples of Industrial Adaptive Re-use in Monterrey and Toronto

Parque Fundidora, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico

Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, a sister city of Hamilton, is a city roughly twice Hamilton’s size, with a population of 1,130,960. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Monterrey twice, in 2003 and 2005. Monterrey, like Hamilton, has a long history of steel production.

The Monterrey Steel Foundry Company operated in Monterrey from 1900 until it’s bankuptcy in 1986. Since then, the site was transformed into a 142-hectare urban sustainable park, containing 26 former industrial properties adaptively reused as galleries, cultural centres, performance spaces, hotels, a traveller’s hostel, all connected to sprawling walking trails and green space interspersed with the repurposed monolithic remains of Monterrey’s industrial steelmaking heritage.


Parque Fundidora Map - Click to see interactive map of the Park

The Rheem Factory is just one building. But looking through photos of Parque Fundidora, I came across this photo of the CONARTE cultural complex, in one of the former industrial buildings in the park.




CONARTE Cultural Complex, Parque Fundidora, Monterrey MEX


Interior Photo of CONARTE Cultural Complex

The similarities in construction and scope of the CONARTE building and the Rheem are remarkable. Let’s at least entertain this option and remove the metal cladding from the Rheem, and see what kind of asset we’ve got. Let’s see what potential might be found in this building. Let’s urge council to at least explore these possibilities, and explore the feasibility of adapting and marketing this building. Let’s think about doing something interesting here.




Interior Photo of Rheem from Michael Richardson’s Article “West Harbour: The Three R’s” on RTH

The Distillery District, Toronto, Ontario

A little closer to home, there is another great example of adaptive reuse of industrial buildings at Toronto’s Distillery District, which was converted from the former The Gooderham and Worts Distillery in 2001 to house shops, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, and coffeehouses, including the Mill Street micro brewery.


Distillery District, Toronto, Canada, photo from Wikipedia by Mathew Ingram

LINKS:

West Harbour: The Three R's - Raise The Hammer - Mark Richardson

RETHINK BARTON-TIFFANY Including a great page of more examples of industrial adaptive re-use here.

DISTILLERY DISTRICT site

PARQUE FUNDIDORA, CONARTE Cultural Complex

WIKIPEDIA Commons Photos of Parque Fundidora

WIKIPEDIA Parque Fundidora Article

This article was first posted on Matt Jelly's Blog.

Jelly is a local artist, graphic designer and map maker living in Downtown Hamilton, Ontario in the Central Neighbourhood. Matt is an advocate for built heritage, toxic waste eradication and the revitalization of downtown Hamilton. www.mattjelly.com

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 18, 2011 at 22:26:07

Amazing piece Matt. David Premi was on CHML today and said this very same thing. The potential uses, and ties to our history is a phenomenal opportunity for Hamilton to do something great like the examples used from Monterrey and TO. The two city works buildings on the other side of Barton could be tied into the Rheem property with cobblestone public areas, patios and space linking Bayfront Park to Central Park through a vibrant, post-industrial urban village of shops, restaurants, bars, patios, condos, lofts, studios, galleries, live/work units, public art and performance space.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted May 18, 2011 at 22:44:33

well Im not sure how big that building is (rheem) and the placement of the vertical beams but .. it looks to me that you put a pretty good size velodrome in there, since there is supposedly extra money to make the velodrome permanent and year round it would also be some 'extra' cash to work with. IF the nation cycling body really wanted to build a training hub i cant think of a 'cooler' setup .. The buy new and scrap when old mentality is killing us as a race.

I know the average hamiltonian may not believe it but people will come from far and wide to ride an olympic velodrome. It would be the only one east of LA,where the canadian olympic team trains.

Are there any measurements / floorplans kicking around ?

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By mb (registered) | Posted May 18, 2011 at 22:51:37

And you all wanted to put a stadium there instead?

This, my friends is more productive and cutting-edge use of this space.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2011 at 03:40:46 in reply to Comment 63707

We wanted to put a stadium there rather than nothing at all, which was the only politically feasible alternative prior to and during the stadium debate:

I can think of plenty of better uses for this public investment than a stadium. However, the fact is that Province will give us tens of millions of dollars for a new stadium, but not for any of a number of things that we need more than a stadium. Given that political reality, the best we can hope for is a stadium that maximizes the potential for incidental side benefits.

There's an argument to be made that the long, divisive struggle over the west harbour has created a political situation in which the status quo of neglected industrial brownfield properties is no longer politically acceptable.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 08:02:57 in reply to Comment 63713

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By morons on parade again (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 09:35:23 in reply to Comment 63722

say what said: "No you wanted to highjack money meant for sports facilities for your own private agenda"

Uh.. you need to look up the definitions of the words "private" and "agenda" and come back here when you have an ounce of brain matter rattling around in your vacuous skull

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 10:17:31 in reply to Comment 63844

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By adrian (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 06:58:34

Excellent article. I completely agree with the premise that we ought to be celebrating our industrial heritage. This reminds me of something that was said during the Hamilton Economic Summit. While discussing Hamilton's industrial corridor in the north end, someone remarked that they wished murals could be put up on the Skyway Bridge so that people who are driving over the Skyway couldn't see the industry in the north end.

But our industry, present and past, is not shameful. We ought to be proud of it and celebrate it. What IS shameful, however, are the contaminated brownfields that have been left behind by industry. By developing something new and amazing at Rheem we can ameliorate that shame while at the same time celebrating the industries that helped build this city.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 08:53:46

Now that both the stadium issue and Edmonton's arena issue have been somewhat settled, I'm curious to see the level of remaining interest (if any) the Katz group still has for HECFI and the WH.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jgQsSOHkplZAfHYmkt2FbdVhuC3g?docId=6892024

And what happened to the interest from the Gehry people?

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 09:40:27 in reply to Comment 63728

He may not have a blank cheque, but he's got a pretty full dance card.

8 SPRUCE STREET
• http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/arts/design/10beekman.html
• http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/02/22/behind_the_curves_of_frank_gehrys_76story_tower.php

SIGNATURE CENTRE
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlYVlqI0oH0

NEW WORLD SYMPHONY
• http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2011/01/frank_gehrys_new_world_symphon.php

EISENHOWER MEMORIAL
• http://voices.washingtonpost.com/arts-post/2011/01/frank_gehry_refines_his_eisenh.html

GUGGENHEIM ABU DHABI
• http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/arts/design/guggenheim-threatened-with-boycott-over-abu-dhabi-project.html?_r=2

FONDATION LOUIS VUITTON
• http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/parisian-residents-halt-gehry-building-2206364.html

UNIVERSITY of TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY'S BUSINESS SCHOOL
• http://www.australiandesignreview.com/news/20324-Design-for-Gehry-s-first-Australian-building-unveiled
• http://media.smh.com.au/world/in-depth/gehry-and-brown-bag-building-for-sydney-2100917.html

Still, Gehry' is 82, and retirement is always a possibility, though there's a lot of latitude there as well.

http://www.slate.com/id/2198786/

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 08:59:20 in reply to Comment 63728

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 08:55:18 in reply to Comment 63728

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 09:00:44

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2011 at 09:49:59

adrian says:

we ought to be celebrating our industrial heritage...We ought to be proud of it and celebrate it...we can ameliorate (that) shame while at the same time celebrating the industries that helped build this city.

I agree, let's celebrate and what better way is there to celebrate industry than by being industrious? We should... wait a second, who in the hell is we? The RTH we is little more than a collective ideology. The RTH we is an aggregate assemblage of an agreeable group of writers and philosophers, essentially a stand-alone do-little noun when what we really need are more verbs running around.

Verbs are the action words that animate a thing as in: We must take action. I am tired of listening to songs without traction, I wanna sing for our coming attractions!

What will we bring to this participaction? I wish to be part of some-thing big happening here in Hamilton, a moving part. No amount of talk gets the physical work done although IT is a great place to start. But the we is stuck, IT has nothing to do; IT sees what needs to be done but just sits here in glue.

The we says, "do this" or "fix that" but the we never leaves the comfort of the chat. The we doesn't get their hands dirty, the we just appears to be busy.

I am industrious, but an unfortunate series of events had left me nearly penniless. I cannot make anything big happen without help. Help is the action word that lends new meaning to the wee self. I have something to share (that's another action word there) because I care, with plenty of action to spare.

Matt, you have a great idea but IT is a huge undertaking. Why not start with a smaller brownfield or derelict building that requires little or no city planner tinkering? They haven't got a stinking clue, they have cornered the market in sticky glue.

Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2011-05-19 10:02:00

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By adrian (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 19:57:01 in reply to Comment 63742

The RTH we is little more than a collective ideology. The RTH we is an aggregate assemblage of an agreeable group of writers and philosophers, essentially a stand-alone do-little noun when what we really need are more verbs running around.

No, it's not. The people who read, write for, and post on RTH are probably the most active, engaged people in the city. The guy who wrote the article you're commenting on has run for mayor and city councillor, and came damn close to winning Ward 2, and that's just his political career - he's also a prolific writer and activist. And that's just Matt Jelly. There are many others who are actively engaged.

Beyond the people on RTH, look at the projects - Ryan's elections site that seeks to provide open, local data on elections; the Our City, Our Future campaign that stopped the stadium from being built on the East Mountain; the new Walkable Hamilton (walkablehamilton.org) website. There's a ton of stuff going on.

If you feel like writing comments on RTH is not enough, then I'd encourage you to get involved with something. It doesn't take money. You know how to write, would you be interested in helping me run Walkable Hamilton? If so, email me.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2011 at 22:43:41 in reply to Comment 63814

adrian and I:

The guy who wrote the article you're commenting on has run for mayor and city councillor, and came damn close to winning Ward 2

I wasn't referring to Matt Jelly personally while I was bashing the royal we and I recall that there were twenty candidates for ward two, where I in fact picked the top three. None of that is new news to me.

and that's just his political career - he's also a prolific writer and activist.

You forgot to mention, he's also a musician.

the Our City, Our Future campaign that stopped the stadium from being built on the East Mountain

Yep, I still got the worn T-shirt.

You know how to write

That's debatable.

would you be interested in helping me run Walkable Hamilton?

I might. Whois for the walkablehamilton.org website says the registrant email is taylormcgreal@sympatico.ca. Is this address correct? If not, my email is present at the top left of my comments.

Cheers

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 20:07:57 in reply to Comment 63814

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2011 at 12:12:49 in reply to Comment 63742

Matt isn't trying to launch a development proposal, he's trying to get a neighbourhood cleaned up. That means going after the biggest target: Rheem. And he "started" on smaller properties a long time ago (ie: next door).

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By HamiltonBrian (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 11:55:28

A friend and I are brewers. Well, I'm the brewer, and he's more the brewery rat. We were musing how cool it would be to put Hamilton's only microbrewery in that area. For as much craft beer is being made in Ontario currently, Hamilton has squat.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 13:25:20 in reply to Comment 63749

comment from banned user deleted

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 00:56:30 in reply to Comment 63776

I've seen the error of my ways and sorry for all the trolling.
-Alan Taylor

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2011 at 14:44:24 in reply to Comment 63776

As much as I'm loathe to admit it, he's probably right about this - I imagine the biggest struggle with setting up a brewpub in an area like that will be fighting the city bureaucracy. How many articles have come to light talking about great projects in this city getting killed by red tape, and the necessity of hiring a fixer or even a lobbyist to get a commercial project rolling here?

Look at Rolly Rockets, in which the local residents had to come out to support it to convince the city that they were okay with living next to a bar.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2011-05-19 14:45:21

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 13:44:25 in reply to Comment 63776

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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 16:05:15 in reply to Comment 63779

I always suspected you to be a bot, Allan Taylor.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 16:14:39 in reply to Comment 63786

comment from banned user deleted

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By rednic (registered) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 08:59:17 in reply to Comment 63787

wow ... judging by the names here ... i think this tiff is happening on the Globe and mail forums as well ..

RTH should so honored the professional posters are here!

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 13:19:06 in reply to Comment 63749

How can I obtain your beer?

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By HamiltonBrian (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 18:22:51 in reply to Comment 63775

We're working on it; our other jobs take priority but we're exploring contract brewing options at this point.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 18:48:02 in reply to Comment 63805

comment from banned user deleted

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By HamiltonBrian (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 19:22:27 in reply to Comment 63809

Doing that as well... Our ESB and Weizen are going over pretty well amongst our sample population. And no, that's not just the two of us!!!!

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 12:02:49

Nice piece, Matt. HamiltonBrian, if you build it, I will come.

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 12:22:57

The Distillery District is lovely and would be worth emulating. It was a $32 million private-sector project that made astute choices in terms of branding and tenants (and polished by top-tier architects and designers) and which was doubtless able to take advantage of special funding considerations thanks to the district’s designation under the Ontario Heritage Act and recognition as a National Historic Site. Although part of the partners’ math involved the addition of three residential towers... the 32-storey Clear Spirit and Pure Spirit and the 35-storey Gooderham.

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By adinabob (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 20:15:48 in reply to Comment 63759

The distillery district is pretty, sure, but it's also very sterile and twee due to how extremely expensive it is. It's nice to visit occasionally when I have money to burn or have a fancy client footing the bill. Maybe we want a super high end tourist space at the harbour. Maybe it would be nice to have something like that somewhere in Hamilton. To be perfectly honest, if the city did go that way I'd... probably spend money there.

However, my preference would be something a little more community based - something that doesn't price out 90% of people.

This would be a super sweet building for a hackerspace... A bit off the beaten path, but not nearly as bad as our (thinkhaus.org) first iteration. How about a hackerspace, shared art studios like the Cossart Exchange, local businesses, educational programs, stuff like that? I'd work towards that for sure.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 20:23:59 in reply to Comment 63818

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By adinabob (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 21:14:38 in reply to Comment 63821

Rheem is _way_ too big for our group, absolutely. I am absolutely not advocating that we take this giant building and make it only a nerd hangout! I'm suggesting a shared space for a number of community groups as well as local businesses.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 21:29:44 in reply to Comment 63830

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 08:03:53 in reply to Comment 63833

I'd be in favour of the city doing the bare minimum with this site – remediating the property and instituting acceptable guidelines, but letting the public sector take a breather for a change and letting the private sector cheerlead for a change. While the location is not without its potential negatives, this could be prime real estate in many regards.

As a city, we need to change our development model from taxpayer-exclusive to taxpayer-assisted, if only because that allows change to occur at a setting faster than "Water Torture". We also would do well to avoid the supersized mundanity that tends to come with any contemporary public project of appreciable scale. The standard worrywart argument is that we don't want to see Queens Quay-style development along Guise Street, or something like that, but I'd argue that having it the multi-unit stock dominated by co-ops and bland, piecemeal projects like Marina Towers, Harbour Towers and the like are compromised accomplishments at best, builds that give a front-row seat to uninspired architecture that'd be equally at home at Mohawk and Upper James. Cabbagetown-on-the-Bay would suit a certain number of homeowners but I would advocate for a more ambitious, multidimensional approach.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 11:15:51 in reply to Comment 63840

I'd be in favour of the city doing the bare minimum with this site – remediating the property and instituting acceptable guidelines, but letting the public sector take a breather for a change...

I agree the enormous potential of this site makes it the perfect opportunity to let the private sector take the lead on development, but I don't think we can minimize the significant public investment that remediation represents.

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 10:22:33 in reply to Comment 63854

Not trying to minimize the cost, just imagining that they'd have a challenge selling poisoned land at anything but a loss. That and it could go the way of any number of other choice local properties with lesser handicaps.

My preference would of course be that the private sector take it over entirely, but you need only look around downtown to know that, with limited exceptions, the private sector will always find a way to rationalize their way out of carrying remediation costs and/or dragging things out by a decade or more (eg. Lister Block, revived after a 16 year coma; Lyric Century, euthanized after a 20 year coma). Either that or the project partners are high on irrational exuberance and the timeline telescopes cruelly (eg. Trinity Landing, 2005-2010; Hamilton Federal Building, 2004-????; Royal Connaught 2004-????). Shabby vacancies aren't necessarily more pleasing because we've been told that sooner or later it will come to resemble an idealized architectural rendering. Can't be insoluble, though. The Imperial Cotton folks seem to have a number of industrial spaces fixed up and rented out.

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 12:54:38 in reply to Comment 63759

More Distillery District pics, from 2005...

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=245280

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 13:54:07

Matt,

Thank you for re-introducing the ideas I wrote about in West Harbour: The Three R's. You've been an advocate for the area for so long and I'm thrilled to have the 'Jelly' brand now attached to the Rheem building! Now that the smoke from the stadium wars has cleared the battlefield I think people will be able to see the amazing potential of the West Harbour.

The Rheem building does appear to have many columns. From looking at the picture I suspect that many of them are there to support the very demanding live loads of cranes, not the relatively light requirements of structural and snow loading. A structural engineer would be easily able to determine what columns and girders can be removed or moved since crane loading is no longer present.

It is still my dream that a serious study of bio-remediation be done for the West Harbour lands.

Comment edited by mrjanitor on 2011-05-19 14:04:02

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2011 at 16:46:17

I don't see anything productive in re-litigating the Stadium in relation to this post- let's move on. Let's have a more productive discussion about West Harbour that isn't mired in all that baggage.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 16:52:27

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2011 at 17:29:50 in reply to Comment 63797

And you seem rather eager to dwell on it yourself. Move on.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 17:51:29 in reply to Comment 63801

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By for the love of god (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 09:42:17 in reply to Comment 63802

MOVE ON ALREADY!

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2011 at 18:07:52 in reply to Comment 63802

Get a hobby.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 21:12:42 in reply to Comment 63804

/s/hobby/job/

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 21:50:48 in reply to Comment 63829

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By just me (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 17:51:45

Um, hasn't troll SAY WHAT been negatived off threads, many times? I'm still not sure how the blue [+] [-] "Nested / Flat" signs work: who decides? I've occasionally seen some useful positive comments negatived, though I think their purpose is to diminish presence of irrelevant & diversionary 'junk'.

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 09:15:08 in reply to Comment 63803

Yeah, I don't really like abut 90% of what "say what" has to say, but I think it's lame that his useful posts are in the negatives, but needless insults are up-voted.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2011 at 15:50:02 in reply to Comment 63842

I dunno, I think "get a hobby" is just good advice, not necessarily an insult.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 15:53:31 in reply to Comment 63931

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2011 at 15:56:10 in reply to Comment 63932

Take up basket-weaving.

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By Stechkin (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 21:06:57 in reply to Comment 63933

insult spam deleted

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 15:59:53 in reply to Comment 63933

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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 21:15:13 in reply to Comment 63803

"Irrelevant and diversionary junk" is exactly what "say what" AKA Allan Taylor is known for, here and over at thespec.com.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 21:19:15 in reply to Comment 63831

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By mb (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 18:23:25

IMHO, this works out better than a stadium. I've wanted something like this for West Harbour for a while. My opposition toward a West Harbour Stadium had a little to do with the Ticats, as I am a fan, but also because I believe the area to be of better use.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 18:33:15 in reply to Comment 63806

comment from banned user deleted

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By Lollipop (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 19:05:27

Great piece Matt. We have to share with Jason Farr. I know his influence is growing at city hall and he'd be the perfect champion for this since it is in his ward.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2011 at 19:44:01

I spoke to Jason about it last week, he seemed receptive to the idea- definitely send him your thoughts!

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted May 19, 2011 at 22:50:59

On the brew pub idea, I love going to Steam Whistle in the heart of Toronto.

Let's stop the snipping and get an action plan together collectively for the Rheem building. It is too close to possible demolition not to. Matt, do you have any connections in the city to arrange a tour?

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2011 at 23:30:41

I really like the Imperial Cotton Centre model - break it up into manageable units and get them to smaller-scale creative enterprises. A Hacklab, for instance. And then use some of the ground-floor units for food/entertainment.

The building's enormous. And all those columns would make dividing it a lot easier (or another floor, if they're as strong as suggested).

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2011 at 08:03:22 in reply to Comment 63837

Again I'll reiterate, this is something huge to undertake. Who's gonna pay for this Hacklab with IT's snack bars and live stage? Anything the city does usually costs us dearly and as far as clues go Undustrial, yours I'm afraid is not nearly.

Sure the building is "enormous" as you say and maybe divisible in many magnanimous ways, but plumbing and electric service upgrades mandate monstrous pay.

The building does look solid however and there's no stray barrels laying around. Therefore, I can see no reason whatsoever to raze IT down to the ground. We just need some more sound ideas and the money has yet to be found.

I envision a velodrome or a film studio from where I sits because unless I actually visits a place, I cannot deter mine good fits.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2011 at 10:11:19 in reply to Comment 63839

Did you even read what I wrote?

A Hacklab could be a tenant. Like a bar or a live stage. That way no single tenant would have to carry the costs single-handedly. Most creative enterprises don't tend to have the spare capital around to retrofit old factories.

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2011 at 09:31:59

Matt I love the concept. However in the examples you cite in Monteray and The Distillery District, there is a glaring difference. Those structures are classic examples of masonry construction industrial age buildings. Rheem is essentially a giant steel shed. There is nothing architecturally significant about it. Those optics I think will make it difficult to prevent a demolition .

Maybe a conversation with a guy like Bill Curran to bounce ideas off him or someone like him with that kind of expertise might clarify what is possible. Eyesores aside the area is an amazing piece of real estate with huge transformative potential. Status quo is definitely not acceptable.

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By LoveIt (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 23:56:41 in reply to Comment 63843

That's what I thought as well. It does not look nice, but it's a piece of a history. I would say, save lover part of it, build up a shiny new modern upper and make a mall or anything else useful and profitable. Give it an interesting name as well. For sure, good developer/architect needed to make it look attractive.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 11:07:42 in reply to Comment 63843

Actually, that's exactly the type of construction of all the old industrial buildings that were repurposed so successfully on Granville Island, which I believe is featured on one of Matt's links. Just because something isn't architecturally significant, doesn't mean it isn't worth saving.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe I read that the steel is just cladding, and there is at least some masonry construction underneath.

Comment edited by highwater on 2011-05-20 11:09:13

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By just me (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 14:32:09

CLARIFICATION--Some folks responded positively to this comment. When I wrote that I'd seen some useful positive comments negatived, I did not mean negatived as in voted down, but rather that the nesting + and -[negative] left me confused. The 'voted down' negatives are of course different and almost always accurate in their judgment--esp. re the "trolls" who are by design bothersome and worse.
PREVIOUS comment:
Um, hasn't troll SAY WHAT been negatived off threads, many times? I'm still not sure how the blue [+] [-] "Nested / Flat" signs work: who decides? I've occasionally seen some useful positive comments negatived, though I think their purpose is to diminish presence of irrelevant & diversionary 'junk'.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2011 at 15:13:07 in reply to Comment 63862

All the blue buttons do is expand and collapse the threads for your own viewing convenience, they do not effect the comments themselves or how anyone else sees the threads. It's basically so you can collapse them if you've alredy read them so that it's easier to navigate the page....

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By observer (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 14:37:39

Very thoughtful discussion here, despite flatulent whining from the [ironically] mentally constipated 'trolls'. Matt Jelly for council!! Oh, wait, he almost did get there but for influence perhaps of lots of "developer" money to Farr's campaign--shades of former mayor L. Di

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 14:51:23 in reply to Comment 63864

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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 16:28:32 in reply to Comment 63866

Dear Mods, wasn't Allan Taylor already banned from this site? Why is he still allowed to post here after being banned?

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By just me (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 17:02:55

Thanks to seancb in Comment 63867 for clarifying the blue + & - buttons. In fairness, I think Ryan explained this when he started to make this function available. As well, I see that one will need some discipline to not get induced into response to the 'everyone's an idiot but me' trollers--although I actually can't figure out what the latest troll response above is talking about. No-o-o! Don't explain it!

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2011 at 18:13:56

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted May 21, 2011 at 16:25:22 in reply to Comment 63875

They just don't like people with different ideas than they have. If your not with them, your against them. Kind of like the George Bush mentality. Agree with them or be ridiculed and insulted.

As for the Rheem property, the city should do whatever is needed to make it sellable to the private sector for developement. If that means tearing it down then do it. But the city under no circumstances should be involved in the developement of the property.

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By Bob lee (anonymous) | Posted May 22, 2011 at 12:39:33

I'd love a brewery here but can't really see the point of reuse. It's not a meaningful building. There should be some height and density there. We have enough iconic buildings under threat of demolition in Hamilton - federal building, cannon mills, education building - that to tie this one up in preservation red tape would risk the development that's under way there. Some upscale condo towers might be boring but they'd increase the tax base and keep the Barton James north renaissance moving.

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 11:16:06 in reply to Comment 63889

"Some upscale condo towers might be boring but..."

... they'd be preferable than the existing boring rental units nearby...

http://www.homestead.ca/property/?id=78#show
http://www.homestead.ca/property/?id=83#show

Which could really be anywhere:

http://www.homestead.ca/locations/?city=Hamilton

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By Pique (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 08:09:47

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2011 at 12:40:03 in reply to Comment 63907

Use your real name if you're going to level personal accusations. I've outlined cultural use as one possible option- and that doesn't automatically mean Mr Freiburger would be a part of that. If I had a history of saving old buildings for my own financial interest or so my friend could turn them into studios, your comment might have some merit. So fuck off.

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By Stechkin (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 21:16:06 in reply to Comment 63910

insult spam deleted

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 13:27:21 in reply to Comment 63910

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 13:29:37 in reply to Comment 63911

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2011 at 13:36:48 in reply to Comment 63912

You are absolutely free to not take me seriously, bucko.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 13:40:46 in reply to Comment 63913

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 13:42:09 in reply to Comment 63914

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2011 at 13:50:35 in reply to Comment 63915

Good job, maybe now you can move on to more advanced techniques, like sentence structure, proper grammar and punctuation.

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By Stechkin (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 21:10:56 in reply to Comment 63916

insult spam deleted

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 14:06:41 in reply to Comment 63916

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2011 at 14:23:34 in reply to Comment 63917

Hey- I'm a human being. I've never received a dime of profit from my activism or community work. The commenter above made the accusation that I was just trying to make a profit for myself here. So I told him to "fuck off". I think most people in the "mainstream" would do the same if they were personally attacked. Don't pretend to be so offended. It's just a word.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2011 at 14:40:19

Nord and I are the only ones who mentioned the Imperial Cotton Centre so far. Nobody's suggested Jelly or Jeremy be involved in this - just that something like that could work.

Trolling fail.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 14:40:43

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2011 at 14:47:44 in reply to Comment 63920

Go fly a kite. How's that?

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 14:53:57 in reply to Comment 63921

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2011 at 14:57:08 in reply to Comment 63922

I did give an actual answer to the accusation. Right before I told the commenter to go fly a kite. Maybe you could both fly that kite together.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 15:03:30 in reply to Comment 63923

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2011 at 15:12:55 in reply to Comment 63925

The troll who seems to spend every waking hour of his life trying to reignite the Stadium debate for the 1000th time (well after the decision has been made and most people have moved on) is calling me a bitter crazy person? Really?! Come on now. You're projecting.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 15:32:17 in reply to Comment 63926

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 15:40:11 in reply to Comment 63927

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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 16:04:40 in reply to Comment 63930

There really isn't much that can be said after that

We can only hope, Allan. we can only hope.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 16:08:05 in reply to Comment 63935

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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 17:24:21 in reply to Comment 63936

LOL Allan. If I'm a "stalker" because I reply to you, does that mean you're stalking yourself when you reply to your own comments?

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 17:32:24 in reply to Comment 63939

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2011 at 15:39:12 in reply to Comment 63927

Right.

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By just me (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 15:00:37

There's gotta be a vitriol filter that some McMaster bio/enginrg/medical researcher has as a prototype that'd find a perfect test site in RTH to identify, DNA-ish or otherwise, the trash that some call trolling, that's interfering with actual discourse. I probably, as disclaimer, love and respect people with electronic Tourette's--which is what much of these so-called trolling is. But there's medication out there, and prescription financial aid. Ask your GP doctor or shrink. The thrill of self-control may be overwhelming & overcoming! Failing that, someone gotta discover a 'file filtering' system of some sort. ABUSE is not part of this site's stated purposes--and Say Nothing's hurt responses to people telling her/him to do unto himself are typical of the injured responses instantly spurting from the mouths of sociopaths: HUH? Me do wrong? How dare you! I'm the injured party! These are classic responses of the type. They're building a new "Help" Centre on the Mountain at W 5th & Fennell. Hmm... a first candidate...

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By just me (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 17:12:57

I have to say it--I can't help myself. The flavour of Say Nothing's posts--usually negatived and with good reason by the "logged in" community--remind of the fortunately not-widely-read posts over a number of years by a former, multi-defeated ex-mayor of Hamilton, web space that was donated to "I Am The Greatest" by philanthropist Chris Ecklund. Those posts were pulled by Ecklund at mayor-candidate-announcement time in 2010, out of 'fairness' to other candidates, he said--see, L D would otherwise have an advantage platform, see, not because the posts would embarrass him--which they did because Google still had them cached. Those rambling rants of our own new local cable TV star had a bad-stomach flavour similar to that in the various "troll" incarnations and names used in RTH--and surely there've been more than one person. Surely she's not alone. The difference is that anyone wishing to reply to Di I Am Inflated One had no forum such as this--there was eventually a Comment box, but it was one way, if that. Matt Jelly and many other articles and 'blogs' are worth reading. I've yet to read any one of the crackpot responses that actually made sense--even if I disagreed with it. It sounds to me like BLAHHH--I can fart louder than you. As I wrote earlier, there is help available.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted May 24, 2011 at 23:37:12

What a waste of a great article and forum to discuss the future of our harbour. We must stop feeding trolls here, they are ruining a vibrant forum for discussion of this city's issues. I've had opinions that don't mesh with the RTH community but I never felt the need to spew the venom I'm seeing here. So sad.

Matt, please contact Ryan for my e-mail, I'd like to talk to you about the West Harbour.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 00:18:17 in reply to Comment 63945

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted May 25, 2011 at 00:12:03 in reply to Comment 63945

My sentiments exactly, FLICK IT and e-mail me.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 01:04:30

I'm sorry for all the above trolling. My apologizes to Matt Jelly and anyone else I have offended on this forum.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 14:11:00

my name has been appropriated by fraudsters!! I have seen the lord and the light!! help!!

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 14:51:35 in reply to Comment 63978

*insult spam deleted by administrator*

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-05-30 21:53:33

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 14:52:00 in reply to Comment 63980

Seriously, this is why it's a good idea to register your account.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2011 at 19:11:59

comment from banned user deleted

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By Freiburger (anonymous) | Posted May 28, 2011 at 13:21:59

Great article Matt. I know some will take this affirmation as collusion with my "non-profit empire" to take over all the industrial wasteland properties in our fair but that's completely absurb.

The reality is that someone has to tackle these projects in our community. When the ICCA started in 2003 we wanted space in the core but 30+ property owners turned us down. They would prefer their spaces be empty than filled by a collective of eager to work artists (we now see these buildings being torn down in our core - good work owners!). So we ventured east. Part by hard work and part by chance we connected with the owners of the 270 Sherman complex and now 8 years later the community has the Sherman complex.

A private sector real estate company owns the property. The ICCA owns nothing. We're cool with that. Similar scenarios with each of our other building projects. ICCA staff, board and tenants own none of the assets we've played leading roles in revitalizing. That's not our primary interest.

The ICCA and our programs like the Cossart are intended to be motivators, enablers and collaborators on projects that most people in the business world thumb their noses at - old buildings, forgotten neighbourhoods, young creative entrepreneurs, creative businesses, etc. Over the past 8 years we've gathered far greater resources for the City and other groups than ourselves. Again, we're cool with that.

A number of years ago we conducted a study with our own money and donor support. The study revealed a need for creative space within our community, a need for focused attention on the creative sector, and an incredible history of other communities around the world reinventing industrial space to serve this growing sector.

A subsequent study (funded by the City) looked at a number of key properties including the property across the street from the Rheem Factory (City owned, now deemed surplus, and wasting in my estimation $500K a year in City funds to upkeep). The study went well but the tides have changed at City Hall and the project sites in limbo.

The resources exist in our community to solve these problems, deal with rebuilding these neighbourhoods - we're simply stuck in a battle over who gets to deal with the trash. As if dealing with this trash, this legacy of waste, is in some way highly lucrative.

My staff are underpaid and overworked. Not because I'm a tyrant and am hording the 'profits', but because the role we play in this community is completely undervalued just like most creative professionals in the non-profit or for-profit sector locally.

Most people are willing to pay for gasoline or bread or cars - very few people see the value in strategy, vision and creativity.

Hamilton is falling behind. Eventually city staff will start importing experts from elsewhere to deal with these sites > they're already touring facilities in other cities to court new developers when they've had a number of them begging to be given a chance for years.

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By Ajax (anonymous) | Posted May 30, 2011 at 18:47:12 in reply to Comment 64148

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-05-30 21:54:15

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By Ajax (anonymous) | Posted May 30, 2011 at 15:05:31 in reply to Comment 64148

*insult spam deleted*

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-05-30 15:13:18

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted May 29, 2011 at 19:19:17

Do you (or your project partners) have any tips on how to remediate these old industrial spaces with maximum efficiency? For so many would-be developers, the thought of grappling with that toxic industrial legacy, and the potential for countless years and dollars lost, often stops them cold. And that's a nut that we as a post-industrial city are obviously going to have to eventually crack.

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted June 06, 2011 at 18:37:05

Not noted, AFAIK, but noteworthy:

"It’s encouraging to hear that the 2015 Pan Am Games velodrome is back in the spotlight, and that Mohawk College is one of the partners that could join with the city to make the cycling facility a reality.

Mind you, that particular partnership would put to rest any possibility of the velodrome being located on the west harbour, which is in many ways unfortunate. But the truth is the west harbour wasn’t a favoured location at any rate among some key cycling stakeholders, making that site a long shot at best. Regardless, the situation raises again the question of what should happen on the former Rheem property and adjacent land, much of which was acquired by the city when it was still a potential location for a new stadium. The future of that area is key to Hamilton’s ongoing waterfront development vision, and it must not be allowed to languish indefinitely. But that’s commentary for another day....

If Mohawk is the partner and does become the site for the velodrome, it would be an interesting twist in that a legacy cornerstone from the games would be located on the Mountain rather than the lower city, which is more typically envisioned as the beneficiary for community development priorities. Yet the mountain is the fastest growing part of the city and home to as much or more commerce and community activity as the lower city, so locating the velodrome there would, in many ways, be a positive step."

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/editorial/article/541766--bright-outlook-for-velodrome



"Mohawk and the City of Hamilton are in discussions about the possibility of locating the 2015 Pan Am Games velodrome at the Fennell Campus. A permanent, multi-use and sustainable velodrome would include a new fitness, sports and recreation centre to support Mohawk's academic programs, varsity athletics and recreational sports."

http://mohawkmatters.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/06/mohawk-college-and-city-of-hamilton-in-discussions-about-pan-am-games-velodrome.html

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted October 19, 2011 at 13:47:16

M3 - Prestige Business Park Zone (By-law 10-182, June 28, 2011)

• Applies to the exterior of Business Parks that front an Expressway (QEW) or a major arterial road (i.e. Barton Street in Stoney Creek) and the entire Red Hill Business Park
• Focus is on Light Industrial and Research & Development uses and permits Office uses to foster development of a prestige employment area
• High Urban Design standards include enhanced planting strips
• Restrictions are placed on the location and screening of outdoor storage, assembly and display

M5 - General Industrial Zone (By-law 10-128, May 26, 2010)

• Applies to the interior of the City’s Bayfront Industrial Area
• Most permissive in types of permitted uses, including heavy Manufacturing, Salvage Yards and Warehousing
• Least restrictive of the zones in terms of Regulations

http://www.hamilton.ca/CityDepartments/PlanningEcDev/Divisions/StrategicServicesSpecialProjects/ZoningBy-law/Industrial.htm

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