Downtown Bureau

Downtown Update

Downtown's looking up with a flurry of new investments in the core.

By Jason Leach
Published January 09, 2006

Jackson Square continues to be its ever-changing self with more store openings and closings. We already told you the bad news, but the good news is that Yves Rocher is opening a new location right inside the main entrance from King and James.

Also, the theatres have been bought by Empire Theaters, a Canadian firm that has become the second largest in the country. This is a good sign for downtown Hamilton to have them want to buy the core's only chain movie house.

A new art gallery is opening on March 2 in Councillor Bob Bratina's old campaign headquarters at King St. and Mary St., a beautiful building with an owner content to wait for the right tenants. Let's hope this gallery is just that.

More residential space and another gallery are going up just north on Mary at King William, joined by artists' lofts and a ground floor auction house at the old Langley Parisian factory just south of King St. on Mary St. Yesterday's Antiques and GW Thompson Pawnbrokers add to the vibrancy of this wonderful urban corner in the heart of downtown.

A good source has teased me about a huge new project that should be announced within the month for downtown Hamilton. We don't have the details yet, but I can tell you that it will be located within spitting distance of King St. and is in the heart of the core, somewhere between Wellington St. and James St. Highrises, condos, lofts, cafes? Stay tuned.

Also, there may be announcements about a new building across from the old federal building on Main St. W. This parking lot used to be owned by HMP across from their main site. Possibly another condo?

A high end hotel chain has contacted the city about possibly locating here. It's a good sign when they call us.

Rumours have swirled about the Canadian department store that is negotiating space in the Hamilton City Centre. RTH has just learned from city sources that the company in question is Hart Department Stores, based in Quebec. With all the activity taking place at the City Centre, let's hope they start to fix this building's problems and reconnect it with the streets with large windows, stores and café patios.

A new Italian restaurant might be going into a building in the King St. and Ferguson St. area. This stretch of downtown is certainly looking up and will become a model of urban living if things keep going the way they are.

St Deny's is supposed to come down in January and have construction start in the spring. Here's hoping.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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