Downtown Bureau

Downtown Update

Downtown hamilton is developing all over the place. Here's a scattershot listing of some recent developments.

By Jason Leach
Published February 15, 2006

2Face Clothiers are preparing to open on Main at Locke. They've been advertising in View and on their website at http://www.2faceclothing.com/.

This looks like another hip, cool business that Hamilton should be thrilled to have, but instead we'll welcome them to Main street's five lanes of highway traffic, making it almost impossible to develop a thriving business. Maybe they will crack the almighty Main.

An italian restaurant is opening at King and Jarvis. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.

A funiture store is opening at King and Ferguson in the old China Importers location. China Importers has moved next door.

The Downtown Arts Centre (http://www.dachamilton.com) is being developed at Rebecca and Hughson. The plans look much better this time around then they did when it was the Downtown Cultural Centre for a brief period.

DAC at night (Image Source: DAC Website)
DAC at night (Image Source: DAC Website)

I'm told that asbestos is being removed from the Spallacci Building and demolition is imminent.

Work is progressing nicely on the old Langley Parisian factory at King and Walnut. Stop by and check out the beautiful awnings being put over the windows.

A new vegetarian restaurant is opening in the old Budapest space on John South. This is one of the most visible signs of the 'changing of the guard' that has been happening downtown. Young people are much more interested in vegan and health options.

We'll all miss the charm of the Budapest, but look for Afinity to become a popular spot among young folks. The bar area next door will become a tea house.

The three apartment buildings at Main and Sherman that suffered a tragic fire last year are being restored and will house apartments once again.

The administrative office of the International Village BIA is moving to the old Seaway Travel location at King and Ferguson. Their current site at King and Spring is being turned into an Italian restaurant.

Community meetings are being held in Strathcona to discuss a student residence building at Strathcona, just north King. The owner wants to build a two storey building with 30-40 students living there. Residents are hoping to lower the density slightly [because, you know, people living in a neighbourhood is bad - Ed.]. We'll keep you posted.

I think downtown Hamilton can be called Renovation Town. While walking home today I encountered 17 buildings or storefronts being renovated. Here's a summary:

I had lunch at Moose Grill and Bar today and got a quick tour of the apartments. One building will have occupants as early as next month. The units are beautifully renovated. The rest of the units will come on stream throughout the summer.

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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By fastcars (registered) | Posted None at

It's so encouraging to read all the positive news on here about downtown. I have noticed in the past that true revival has happened on the edges of downtown and has slowly, progressively moved inward toward the King Street East corridor. I do have a couple of questions--does anyone know any details in regard to the Royal Connaught renovation--such as size of the new hotel space, chain affiliation, restaurants, etc? Lack of adequate hotel space in Hamilton (not just downtown) is a long-standing problem, and this hotel room inventory needs to come back online ASAP. Also, I have read some rumors about other potential hotel developments slated for downtown--anyone know anything? I am really discouraged to learn of the demise of the Budapest--which was truly a landmark downtown. Although it's great news that it's being replaced, I hate to see the old stalwarts disappearing. Lets hope places like the Sirloin Cellar and Black Forest Inn have long, prosperous lives.

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By Fred (registered) | Posted None at

What is happeining to the block on Main St W between Bay and Caroline. I heard that the old federal building was having problems with asbestos clean up and labour issues. Downtown needs more residential options. Cool businesses will follow the people.

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By Steeltown (registered) | Posted None at

Royal Connaught new chain affiliation will be the Renaissance, it will be known as Renaissance Royal Connaught Hotel once the place re-opens. The hotel built around the Skydome is a Renaissance hotel. There's one in Niagara Falls too. I believe there's only 4 Renaissance hotels in Canada.

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By fastcars (registered) | Posted None at

Thanks for the update regarding the Royal Connaught. I suppose the Renaissance affiliation makes sense as one of the investors there is also building the Courtyard on Upper James--and both Courtyard and Renaissance are Marriott brands. Great news! Lack of adequate hotel room inventory has hog-tied the city for years and hurt the city's ability to attract trade shows and conventions. Even when there is a moderate sized conference or youth hockey tournament in the area it is difficult to find rooms anywhere. Developments like the Renaissance and Marriott Courtyard are a start. Hopefully the hospitality business in Hamilton will begin catching up with the rest of the cities and towns which surround it. Another moderately sized hotel development downtown would be a huge boost--I've always thought the Bay/King area next to the AGH would be a great spot near Copps and the HCC. Certainly building a residential base downtown is a key part of the renewal of the core. Just as retail/entertainment/dining followed the migration to the suburbs--the growth in population downtown will have the same effect. New residents living downtown will not want to commute to Ancaster or Burlington to shop and dine--which can only be a positive sign for the future of commerce downtown.

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By fastcars (registered) | Posted None at

Just poking around the SkyscraperCity forum--any word on the alleged Hilton development at the HMP site? Hilton is building like crazy in Ontario right now, mostly it's mid-priced Hilton Garden Inn hotels...not sure if this is what would be earmarked for downtown--but either way, it would be welcome.

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By Steeltown (registered) | Posted None at

Darko Vranich owns the entire block from Caroline to Bay along Main St. When HMP moved out Darko purchased the site and a week later on CH news it was said Darko plans to build a Hilton Hotel where HMP is currently at. I think under WOT it mentioned Hilton came to City Hall to discuss about their plans, so its serious stuff. In case you don't know Darko owns the old federal building which he'll turn it into lofts/condos and he recently opened up the Staybridge Hotel near Copps. Darko is heavy in the hotel business.

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By fastcars (registered) | Posted None at

That's great news. A Hilton downtown would be a huge boost--together with the Sheraton and soon-to-be Renaissance Royal Connaught--that would be three, large, full-service hotels downtown, together with the Staybridge Suites. The Ramada Plaza is still a concern--I've heard many times that it's been extensively renovated, but I keep hearing very negative things about it's condition. Hopefully with the Connaught and Marriott Courtyard finished they will turn their attention to getting the Ramada up to a higher standard. Next step--a hotel on the harborfront!

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By Steeltown (registered) | Posted None at

Get hold of the Hamilton Spec tomorrow as it will announce the hotel coming to Bay and Main as well a bunch of other condominium developments. It's going to be a 10 storey hotel. It will be a Hilton Homewood Suites.

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By fastcars (registered) | Posted None at

Thanks Steeltown. We don't get the Spec way down here in the deep south and I no longer read it online due to their restrictive subscriber/content policy. (Incidentally, probably the only paper that puts NO content on for free...but anyway). Anyway, I did see the note on the AM900 website about the Hilton Homewood Suites. That's great news--Homewood is an upscale brand, all-suite hotel, not that far off from Staybridge. Great to hear that it will have some height to it...

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By Steeltown (registered) | Posted None at

Well there's no mention in the Spec today but tomorrow they should ($177 million worth of development for downtown). As well the Spec is currently for free online. thespec.com There doing some makeovers so during that time the spec online is free.

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By Terry (registered) | Posted None at

The word on the street is that 2Face is going to rock! I hear it's opening on April 10th and they have tons of parking out back!

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By mmk323 (anonymous) | Posted November 17, 2007 at 21:25:44

I'm eagerly awaiting the The Renaissance Royal Connaught, we do need more hotel room, to try to attract more conference business. The hotel will be managed by Concord Hospitality!! It'll definately be good for Hamilton!

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By Ronmac60 (anonymous) | Posted May 08, 2008 at 10:46:28

No Hamilton news has been more exciting than that about the ROYAL CONNAUGHT.

In our family one of the most important days of the year was my mother's birthday. We always took her for dinner at the Royal Connaught. They served the best "roast beef and Yorkshire pudding" you could imagine.

But like the famous King Edward in Toronto and the Genosha in Oshawa time took its toll and those grand hotels fell in popularity.

How wonderful the Rennaissance group has taken over. We are looking forward to visiting it on our next visit back home.

Dr. Ron Macpherson, formerly on 70 Stanley Ave

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By Ronmac60 (anonymous) | Posted May 08, 2008 at 10:46:34

No Hamilton news has been more exciting than that about the ROYAL CONNAUGHT.

In our family one of the most important days of the year was my mother's birthday. We always took her for dinner at the Royal Connaught. They served the best "roast beef and Yorkshire pudding" you could imagine.

But like the famous King Edward in Toronto and the Genosha in Oshawa time took its toll and those grand hotels fell in popularity.

How wonderful the Rennaissance group has taken over. We are looking forward to visiting it on our next visit back home.

Dr. Ron Macpherson, formerly on 70 Stanley Ave

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By gcgogo@live.com (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2010 at 20:10:33

I CANT WAITE TO SEE THE GRAND OLD LADY ROYAL CONNAUGHT HOTEL BROUGHT BACK TO HER GLORY AS IT SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN LEFT TO FALL APART LIKE IT HAS. I THANK THE PEOPLE WHO ARE THERE TO PUT LIFE BACK IN WHERE IT IS WELL DESERVED.

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