Commentary

Beasley Neighbourhood Association's Official Position on Tivoli Condominiums

We encourage the redevelopment of vacant lots and surface parking, but any proposed tall buildings should be designed and massed to make a positive contribution to the public realm and fit harmoniously with the surrounding context and skyline.

By Allison Chewter
Published March 30, 2015

The re-development of the Tivoli Theatre site on James North has received significant attention as the first condo project in Hamilton's artistic hub. The Beasley Neighbourhood Association (BNA), which takes an active role in reviewing new developments and promoting good planning and development within the Beasley Neighbourhood, presents their Official Position regarding this project.

Tivoli redevelopment rendering
Tivoli redevelopment rendering

In January of this year, developer Diamante Investments Inc. submitted an application for a zoning by-law amendment to the City of Hamilton's planning department with the purpose of developing a 22 storey mixed use building at 108 James Street North and 111 and 115 Hughson Street North in Hamilton, more commonly known as the site of the Tivoli Theatre.

This project is proposed to include commercial and residential uses with a maximum of 106 units and a total of 69 parking spaces provided through combination of surface (17 spaces) and stacked (52 spaces) parking. The current zoning of the property allows for a maximum of six storeys on the site.

Site of the proposed Tivoli redevelopment (RTH file photo)
Site of the proposed Tivoli redevelopment (RTH file photo)

Under the guidance of Jason Thorne, the new General Manager of Planning and Economic Development, City staff have recommended that Planning Committee and Council deny the applicant's requested by-law amendments on the basis that the proposed changes are inconsistent with relevant municipal and provincial policy and the proposed development "would fail to preserve and enhance the character of the existing area, would represent an over-intensification of a mid-block site and set an unsuitable precedent for the design of tall buildings within Downtown Hamilton" (See Staff Report PED15029a).

The BNA, in reviewing City Staff's report to Planning Committee and the various reports and plans submitted in conjunction with the application (this includes a Planning Justification Report, Urban Design Brief, Heritage Impact Assessment and more), has identified the following concerns regarding this proposal:

Building Height/Massing

"Tall Buildings", which are loosely defined as buildings with a height greater than the width of the street on which they are located, have a greater civic responsibility than mid- or low-rise buildings due to their increased impacts and potential for disruption. We believe that all new development in our neighbourhood should enhance and complement our streets and any established community character.

The proposed 22 storey structure would be incompatible with the existing character and design of James Street North, north of Wilson Street/York Boulevard, as this area is composed predominately of 3-4 storey historical buildings.

The requested zoning changes would allow the development of a structure that would detract from the pedestrian experience, neighbourhood character, and public realm on James Street North due to the visual and physical impacts of a 22 storey structure with very minimal step backs.

While the building has been designed to include a three-storey podium, in partial uniformity with the surrounding structures, the very minimal step back from the 6th through 22nd storeys (~1.92m from the streetwall) negates any benefits of the podium design, especially as the proposed balconies occupy what small step back does exist.

Had the developer acquired more of the surrounding lands, including possibly the Centre Point strip mall on Wilson Street, there would be sufficient space to design a structure that could include a 3-4 storey podium with a tower that is appropriately stepped back from the lot lines, lessening the impacts of the structure's height. This would also allow the base of the building to stand out as the primary defining element of the site.

Strip plaza on James North and Wilson, next to the Tivoli site (RTH file photo)
Strip plaza on James North and Wilson, next to the Tivoli site (RTH file photo)

Precedent Setting

Every development is precedent setting. We are confident that this development, if approved, would set a poor precedent for the future development of Beasley's commercial and cultural core.

Many of the other developable properties along James Street North and other thoroughfares in Beasley are of a similar, if not smaller, footprint to the subject lands. If this development were to be built as proposed, it would become increasingly difficult to deny future developments in this area that are too tall at the street and seriously out of character with the existing neighbourhood.

The proponents of this project argue that because there is no other heritage/cultural facility similar to the Tivoli Theatre along James North, this project is the one exception and opportunity for a tall building in this area.

However, while this project is unique, the precedent that will be set will be based on the height and massing of the development, not the unique features that it offers.

Theatre Restoration and Governance

We also have some concerns regarding this proposal as it relates to the restoration and future operations and governance of the Tivoli Theatre.

The Heritage Impact Assessment submitted by the applicant seeks to address concerns related to the current state and redevelopment of the Tivoli Theatre, including a 2010 report by Janice A. Barlow & Associates detailing possible restoration tactics for the theatre auditorium.

These documents fail to provide sufficient information regarding the ownership and operation of the theatre, and therefore it remains uncertain as to what the predominant use of the theatre will be and who will be in charge of maintenance and care of the theatre structure.

Furthermore, we feel that this zoning amendment process will not provide an enforceable guarantee that the remainder of the Tivoli building will be saved and restored.

Parking

The BNA has a clear stance on not supporting the creation or expansion of any surface parking lots within the Beasley Neighbourhood. In conjunction, we are highly supportive of reduced parking requirementse in developments that provide clear Transportation Demand Management (TDM) initiatives.

The proposed development includes the creation of a 17 space surface parking lot on Hughson Street North, as well as 52 parking spaces provided through parking stackers located within the ground floor of the proposed building.

We expressed our discontent regarding the surface parking lot to the applicants and were informed that should the BNA and the City support the further reduction in the parking ratio, the developer would be happy to remove all surface parking from the development.

However, we have additional concerns regarding the design of the overall development as it relates to parking. It appears that the design of the tower and the lack of step backs is directly related to the provision of parking in parking stackers on the ground floor, and therefore is part of the reason that the development would negatively impact the public realm.

Had the developer purchased additional lands for parking purposes, which could include any of the many surface parking lots in the vicinity of the development, the tower could be better stepped back to lessen the visual and physical impacts of its height.

We would be willing to consider a building of similar overall density but lower height at the streetwall, using the deeper part of the lot (immediately in front of the existing theatre building) for the condominium tower rather than for parking. We do not as a matter of policy insist on any on-site parking for new construction in our neighbourhood.

North and south elevations of the proposed building show how the location of the proposed parking stackers has pushed the tower towards the property's James St North frontage
North and south elevations of the proposed building show how the location of the proposed parking stackers has pushed the tower towards the property's James St North frontage

In conclusion, the BNA feels that the proposed by-law amendments are premature, as the developer has not acquired sufficient land, or considered more creative solutions, in order to responsibly and feasibly redevelop the Tivoli Theater and property.

While we want to encourage the redevelopment of vacant lots and surface parking in the Beasley Neighbourhood, we feel strongly that any proposed tall buildings should be designed and massed in such a way that they make a positive contribution to the public realm and fit harmoniously with the surrounding context and skyline.

Based on the concerns outlined above, the BNA does not support the proposed development and will continue to support the position of City of Hamilton Planning Staff regarding Zoning Bylaw Amendment Application ZAR-15-001.

We urge any Hamilton residents or business owners with concerns regarding this project to get in contact with Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr (Jason.Farr@hamilton.ca) or submit comments to Legislative Co-ordinator Ida Bedioui (Ida.Beidoui@hamilton.ca) prior to the Planning Committee meeting this Tuesday, March 31st.

Allison Chewter is a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo's undergraduate planning program, where she specialized in land development and urban design. She is a born-and-raised resident of Hamilton (downtown and up) and is eager to put her newly honed planning skills to work in her community. She is currently the co-chair of the Beasley Neighbourhood Association's Planning and Development Sub-committee.

97 Comments

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By higgicd (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 07:33:17

Arguments of character and context are interesting to me. Seems to be quite subjective, and also implies that particular areas should exist in some sort of stasis according to the built form predominant at the time of inception. If that is the case, and we deem tall buildings in the downtown core in a major mixed use street nearby important local and regional transit connections, then where should they be built, on greenfield development? I think the precedent has already been set with the Connoly development about 750 metres away, no? On things like parking though, bang on. Lower rise infill will have a tough time being viable with structured parking requirements.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 09:48:05 in reply to Comment 110697

The BNA has no opposition to density or to tall buildings: we welcome both. We simply ask for a reasonable height at the streetwall (in this case, 6 stories is permitted as of right) with appropriate stepbacks deeper in the lot.

Although the Tivoli property is quite small, it could accommodate a tower immediately in front of the existing theatre building with much less impact on the streetscape. However, that's not what the developer proposes. Rather, they want to waste the interior space on a parking structure and put the tower right out at the road.

(Ninja'ed by AnjoMan. I agree with all of his comments.)

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 09:12:58 in reply to Comment 110697

A few thoughts:

  1. The built form of James St. North didn't come around from one single time period but across over a century of architectural decisions by a wide range of people (including the brand new development across the road). So it's not just perpetuating one architectural idea but many interacting ideas.

  2. The value of perpetuating these ideas is pretty clear, since James North is a very successful urban space. The 3-storey street-wall is tight knit and has a human scale and variety that makes it enjoyable to walk, encouraging the kind of economic activity that has made it one of Hamilton's biggest success stories for revitalization. In other words, _it works_. Its not just about preserving historical ideas but preserving a successful urban space (I will grant that this point isn't strongly made in this letter).

  3. The objections here aren't really about height so much as about setback. The podium style of high-rise design is very popular precisely because of how it allows for tall buildings without destroying the intimacy of the street. It also reduces the amount of wind tunnelling that pedestrians experience as a result of high buildings, which makes the street more comfortable in winter. This proposal pays lip service to a podium design but the setback is too small to really be effective. As the letter states, they could literally move the tower back on the same lot and achieve an acceptable scaling.

  4. The Connolly site is not in an environment that has a successful, continuous human scale to it in the same way as James North. There is much less street activity, most buildings are 4+ stories with no setbacks, and there is a lot of variety already. There is no obvious urban form to conform to there; it won't be interrupting anything that works for a particular reason, which is why its a much better place for a tall, imposing structure with no setback or podium.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 08:01:39 in reply to Comment 110697

I agree with everything in this article. I don't believe the Connolly "sets a precedent" for all of James Street. James South and James North are two different districts, neighbourhoods and heritage environments.

There is not an either/or decision here on developing the Tivoli site or "greenfield" sites. As stated in the article, there are plenty of poorly developed or parking lot sites within spitting distance of the Tivoli that would better suit a development of this kind.

And, since the Diamantes basically received this site for free, I don't understand the math behind the "22 stories and 106 units are required to make this development worthwhile".

I agree with the BNA and planning staff on this. Good luck with your efforts to have a better design for this site.

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By Moe (anonymous) | Posted April 02, 2015 at 17:48:25 in reply to Comment 110699

How do you not understand the math? It costs 5 million just to restore the theatre ALONE!

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted April 03, 2015 at 15:02:32 in reply to Comment 110864

It's my understanding that the theatre restoration is to be funded separately through non-profit fundraising.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 19:58:47 in reply to Comment 110699

"And, since the Diamantes basically received this site for free, I don't understand the math behind the "22 stories and 106 units are required to make this development worthwhile"."

A few things, so that some mis-information isn't further perpetuated.

  1. I believe you'll find it was the Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble which purchased the property for a $1 from Sam the Record Man after he ran from a crumbling building which he allowed to fall into a state of disrepair.

It could have been purchased by others for $1, but they didn't want the risk.

I know Mrs. Diamante is the CEO of the Ballet, but still for the record it wasn't the "Diamantes" who received the site for "free".

  1. The 106 stories over 22 storeys are necessary to fund a business case for the renovation of the theatre, which the Ballet has basically acted as care-keeper for over the past 11 years.

I'm not surprised the author doesn't know the plans for the theatre, because in early March she thought the development plans included it's demolition. The author mis-informed people without a public apology/retraction in this CBC article, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/n...

That lack of retraction/apology, even acknowledgement of spreading mis-inforamtion, in this article clearly calls into question the author's character and motivations.

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By higgicd (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 08:29:01 in reply to Comment 110699

So if the developer had just built it a few hundred metres away on the parking lot at say Hughson and Wilson that would be OK for context? I find it neat as an observer watching the tension between an existing built form and pressures for the city to change and evolve...

Still my main thinking is we all agree that intensification is a good idea, but then go and make it hard to intensify. There's actually an argument in the City's documents that while the downtown should intensify to a level of 250 people and jobs per hectare, it doesn't have to happen on this particular site. Well then what is the point of the downtown UGC? That argument could theoretically be applied anywhere downtown!

Another reason why I like tall buildings is affordability - greenbelt has done a tremendous job limiting single-detached development, driving up the cost of those types of homes. To keep housing costs reasonable, infill needs to pick up the slack, which it has to a degree. But then restricting them too through zoning or other means (not just Hamilton but across the GTHA) just drives up their costs further, eroding affordability across the region.

I am all for mid-rise development and would gladly live in one for the rest of my life, but thanks to our zoning regulations we just make that housing product hard to construct. There's clearly a market for mid-rise in the age of the greenbelt. With cheaper and easily developable land and a real downtown, just think of the competitive advantage we would have for this market if we actually had a package of the most progressive mid-rise zoning/transit oriented development regulations in the GTHA (in tandem with rapid transit). So my take on the Tivoli is while I do agree with the above sentiments, bigger picture for me is that until we get our mid-rise act together it is a good way to ensure that 100+ units get built vertically as infill rather than up on the mountain as horizontal sprawl.

Comment edited by higgicd on 2015-03-30 08:37:14

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 09:23:00 in reply to Comment 110700

So if the developer had just built it a few hundred metres away on the parking lot at say Hughson and Wilson that would be OK for context?

Absolutely. They could build this exact tower but fronting on Hughson (i.e. on the sight of the theatre itself), and the difference in context would be huge. There isn't already an active, vibrant successful space happening there, so there is much more freedom to define the space.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 19:59:28 in reply to Comment 110703

Only then the theatre would be demolished...

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 14:28:51 in reply to Comment 110762

I'm not suggesting this _should_ be done, only that if it _were_ done it would completely change the impact of the tower on how James North and Hughson each function (or don't) as public spaces. As this article points out, there is already enough room on the site itself to accomodate both the theatre and a more suitable setback.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 09:52:39 in reply to Comment 110703

I agree with the difference in context, but that's not the entire story.

If the developer had acquired the parking lot that stretches from Hughson to John, we'd still want a human scale (i.e. not 22 stories) at the streetwall, but there would be lots of room in the interior of this lot to rise quite tall with stepbacks. As Allie points out, the same would be true if they had acquired the Centre Point strip mall immediately adjacent to the Tivoli property.

John

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 20:01:12 in reply to Comment 110708

"As Allie points out, the same would be true if they had acquired the Centre Point strip mall immediately adjacent to the Tivoli property."

If it were for sale. I know a minor point...

"but there would be lots of room in the interior of this lot to rise quite tall with stepbacks."

But that would reduce the number of units making the project financially unfeasible.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 22:37:43 in reply to Comment 110763

If it were for sale. I know a minor point...

Most things are for sale at the right price. The Diamantes are free to try to buy land on the open market from landowners other than the Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble.

But that would reduce the number of units making the project financially unfeasible.

No, it wouldn't. The area wasted on a two-storey podium between the tower and the theatre could be put to much better use. Even reversing the position of the podium and the tower would be much better.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 13:33:17 in reply to Comment 110778

"Most things are for sale at the right price."

That is a naive point-of-view and very easy to say when you don't know the owner of that property Here's a challenge, go and ask the owner of that building how much they'll sell for...

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By higgicd (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 09:58:40 in reply to Comment 110708

I am disappointed neither of you has commented on the bigger picture arguments I laid out, which puts you perilously in the position of NIMBYism. Towers are great down the street, but not here. And while I would agree that James N 'works', I feel only to some extent as living here the street can be a bit of a dead zone at times. More people need to live in the area to support enough businesses to fill the remaining vacancies you see all along the street.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 20:04:10 in reply to Comment 110709

Agreed. Though, it is NIMBYism...

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 13:26:01 in reply to Comment 110709

To be clear: I, like you, think that they should build a tower here; I just don't want to see them screw up by not including a setback. It's not like fixing this design would be costly. The tower only has to move a few metres for it to work.

Comment edited by AnjoMan on 2015-03-30 13:27:24

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 20:02:18 in reply to Comment 110727

It can't move a few metres, there's a 100+ year old theatre in the way.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 14:45:15 in reply to Comment 110764

Are you sure we are looking at the same proposal? The lot depth is around 45 meters from the sidewalk to the theatre building --- only half of which would be taken up by the actual tower proposed in the plan above. So the tower could be moved back at least 20 meters without affecting the theatre building at all. That would have a huge impact on how the tower was percieved from the sidewalk.

Comment edited by AnjoMan on 2015-04-01 14:48:16

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 10:16:16 in reply to Comment 110709

Chris, it's not NIMBYism to ask that the podium be in front of the tower rather than the other way around. My point in mentioning those other two properties was just that a larger property allows higher rise with stepbacks. There would still be plenty of room for a fairly high building on the Tivoli property starting with 6 stories at the street, but that's not what's proposed.

The BNA is, as far as I know, the only neighbourhood association in Hamilton that's pushing back against minimum parking requirements that disincentivize mid-rise development and affordable housing.

I'm no expert, but I think that urban planning is a bit more complicated than the binary poles of "anything goes" vs. "we don't want any development in our little enclave." I'm disappointed that you've raised the NIMBY canard in response to specific, remediable issues identified not only by our neighbourhood association but also by the Planning department.

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By higgicd (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 10:39:03 in reply to Comment 110710

Reading your comments again, I overlooked "at streetwall" so for that I apologize and think we agree in principle on that. It just irks me at all the opposition to infill development unless it fits exacting requirements. I have never disagreed with them as laid out in the article, but see them in light of other realities around. Mid-rise is a tough sell and even in Toronto it is only now starting to happen, we all want more people downtown, but land prices are such that it is still more profitable to operate a parking lot than build something more useful, this is a GO hub and future LRT corridor, etc. What better place for adding density.

I assume we all want the same goals of environmental sustainability, economic/tax efficiency, neighbourhood vitality, a bigger voting base for urban issues, etc. but through both awful zoning regulations that codify the unachievable paradox of mid-rise yet auto-friendly development and local opposition to change we also shoot all of that in the foot then collectively complain about sprawl, traffic, and high house prices.

I'd be interested to see if the developer would actually build with no parking, as while a solution to the above problem it might be something they think a portion of their target market values. Too much push back though and things just go to the OMB which is unfortunate for all involved, but also in my opinion a godsend for achieving the big picture benefits of infill. US metro areas would kill for an institution like that.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 10:51:03 in reply to Comment 110712

Hi Chris, thanks for that. Honest mistake on reading my comment.

I agree that we can't make the perfect the enemy of the good. I'd also prefer not to make the terrible (surface parking lots and sprawl development) the friend of the bad (a 22 story tower at the front of a lot with the podium behind?)

The Beume building across the street and the Templar Flats proposal on King William are excellent examples, in my mind, of how mid-rise and even low-rise buildings can achieve density in a downtown core. The BNA supports the proposal to provide no on-site parking at the Templar Flats. If all of the vacant space in our neighbourhood were developed with a similar form, we would be as dense as many large European cities.

The best way to encourage intensification in Beasley would be for the city to immediately sell all of its surface parking lots after rezoning them to prohibit surface parking and eliminate parking minimums. Mid-rise (or high-rise in deeper lots) mixed-use redevelopment would then be economically viable. Underground parking might be part of some builds but it would need to be able to sustain itself financially.

The Tivoli is, in my mind, the answer to the wrong question.

I'm not questioning your motives. I agree that we share the same goals. I suspect that we'd agree on our response to most development applications. (For example, I'm sure you'd support the BNA in its opposition to further expansion of the Hamilton General Hospital parking sprawl at Robert and Cathcart!)

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 20:11:37 in reply to Comment 110715

"I'm not questioning your motives. I agree that we share the same goals. I suspect that we'd agree on our response to most development applications. (For example, I'm sure you'd support the BNA in its opposition to further expansion of the Hamilton General Hospital parking sprawl at Robert and Cathcart!)"

But, it's 17 surface parking spots that are forming your basis for objection.

"The Beume building across the street and the Templar Flats proposal on King William are excellent examples, in my mind, of how mid-rise and even low-rise buildings can achieve density in a downtown core."

Neither of those examples are building around a 100+ year theatre which requires funds for renovation. Also note, Beume sat on that empty lot using it for surface parking for years and part of that development footprint had a building which was demolished due to neglectful ownership. I'm not sure if he owned that building, or not.

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By higgicd (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 11:20:51 in reply to Comment 110715

HHS does unfortunately seem to be a voracious consumer of land for surface parking, and rapid transit proposals kind of miss the boat on better serving that hub.

Interesting idea re parking - though doing that might drive up the profitability of remaining private lots in the interim. A nefarious move would be the city doing the opposite and making all their lots free, thereby eroding the business case for private paid parking as a downtown land use!

As for the Tivoli I hope the issues raised in the article can be addressed without a trip to the OMB because they are all very reasoned. But as you've mentioned at root here is still outdated zoning that results in these battles occurring in the first place. Happy to see you guys fighting the good fight and if there is any way for a Jamestown resident to help lobby for the changes you're after I am on board. LRT may be turfed for the foreseeable future but reforming these more fundamental planning elements are key to truly remaking the city.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 11:46:23 in reply to Comment 110718

In my mind, the A-line shouldn't go to the waterfront. No one needs rapid transit to the waterfront. It should go east on Barton at least as far as HGH, and HHS should be asking for this.

I agree with your point re: profitability of private parking lots. Actually, I was kind of keeping quiet on that because you're right that it is totally unfair. The most fundamental solution would be to reform property tax as a land value tax, but good luck getting that one done. A simpler fix would be a tax on downtown parking. Either way, developing the city's half of the downtown parking lots would still make things way better than the current state.

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By Subsidized Development (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 10:50:52 in reply to Comment 110712

The public has put a lot of subsidy into this property over the past decade:

1) Waiving the costs of emergency demolition ($300,000) because it was given to a charity (who then sold the property to the husband of a board member, who is the condo developer)
2) $75,455 grant for stabilization
3) $50,000 interest-free loan

And very likely, the developer will also apply for a number of incentives through the downtown renewal division if the development goes ahead.

Doesn't the public have a right to have "exacting requirements" of this development?

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 14:16:40 in reply to Comment 110714

Regarding #1 - Wasn't that Sam Sniderman's property at that time of property deterioration and that's why he sold it for $2? I also heard via grapevine that other bids for the property were received, but "husband of board member" was highest. My info was grapevine, so I ask do you have other information which is fact?

Regarding #2 Seems fair for a heritage building (the theatre)

Regarding #3 Loan repaid in full, so what's the point?

Many developers get public benefit in many forms, seems that acting as a caretaker for 10 years on a heritage building should get something too. The city never showed any interest, look at the heritage buildings they have responsibility for care taking they are all falling down because no money (little) has been spent.

I guess you should have bought the property from Sam the Record Man for $3.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 13:31:46 in reply to Comment 110714

Doesn't the public have a right to have "exacting requirements" of this development?

Yes, but part of the problem is that some of our representatives think 'exacting requirements' should consist of building parking, even if it requires a robotic parking garage be built.

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By the j (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 07:56:31

22 stories? This isn't downtown Branftford. I propose a 30 story minimum for all new james street developments. Too many small time developers doing small time builds. It seems like they're under compensating for something,

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By williamMehlenbacher (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 08:54:01

Beasley has it right, time for Jason Farr to start listening to the people, his tactics are always aggressive in my opinion. This does not suit the area and if Jason has his way we are in trouble on James North, down will come buildings to make way for others to follow.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 16:06:11 in reply to Comment 110701

I've found that Clr. Farr to be pretty forward thinking with participatory budgeting, etc.

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By Ms Me (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 09:38:31 in reply to Comment 110701

Bang on!

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 09:23:21

very interesting issue here. Well written submission by the BNA.

Few random thoughts I have:

  • street context is hugely important. Old retail streets with the 2-4 storey street wall like Locke, James north of Wilson, Ottawa, Kenilworth, King East etc.. should maintain access to sunshine on the sidewalks while allowing new density. Think Queen West, Roncesvalles, Queen East (Beaches) in Toronto. In our climate, access to sunshine is important. Go to downtown Toronto in mid-winter on a sunny day. Dark, freezing cold and windy. Yet I'm all for new density in our city. It's imperative if we are to thrive again. I like this type of thinking on these streets:

https://rgordonarchitect.wordpress.com/2...

https://twitter.com/jen_keesmaat/status/...

  • as far as 'precedence' goes, we need to protect the heritage building stock on these streets and their historic retail sidewalks. One could use the same precedence argument if this proposal was 10 stories or 50. Mass demolitions and block-busting. It simply can't be allowed. At the rear of properties, or on parking lots, go for new density. Acclamation condos seem to get the scale correct for this district:

http://residencesatacclamation.ca

  • we need to build housing and buildings in Hamilton, not parking. Seeing that land space is being wasted on a parking stacker, instead of allowing a setback on the taller portion of the building is ridiculous. Hamilton needs to stop with the parking requirements. Had they been able to purchase the corner property, a taller tower could go at the corner of James/Wilson and step-back north along James:

http://torontolivings.com/wp-content/upl...

Also, by using the available land for a larger footprint building instead of parking stacker, the same density could be achieved without impacting the street. Setbacks at the 6th, 8th and 11th stories:

http://urbantoronto.ca/sites/default/fil...

EDIT:

I should add that I'm completely in favour of tall towers downtown where not in the middle of these low-rise retail/pedestrian streets. The Connolly could go 50 stories and I wish it were, if for no other reason than making some new bold statements downtown. Ditto for Connaught site, Vranich-ville etc....

A local example of a development fitting in perfectly with it's current street, while adding needed density would be this on King William:

http://www.templarflats.ca

This is a perfect modern interpretation on the Paris model. 6th floor set-back and everything.

Comment edited by jason on 2015-03-30 09:33:19

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By RobF (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 19:08:55 in reply to Comment 110704

Good comments. I'm glad to see a quality discussion on intensification taking place ... one that recognizes that this isn't a one-size fits all issue.

I too think tall building have their place in the core, and that there are sites not far from the Tivoli that i could see being appropriate for a mix of tall and mid-rise buildings ... the sea of parking at John and Wilson could eventually turn into something really interesting. We can hope, at least. Anyone noticed the innovative project proposed for the Honest Ed's site in Toronto?

But, yes, Acclamation is a good model for James North ... flexibly applied in terms of exact scale, massing, and design, of course.

Comment edited by RobF on 2015-03-30 19:10:18

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 21:51:12 in reply to Comment 110756

I'm sure some in the north end will oppose anything proposed, but for those really looking for the best fit for this location, I wonder if something like this would work if the floor plate was extended back to the theatre, instead of wasting land for a parking stacker?

http://www.to-condominium.com/uploads/3/...

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By RobF (registered) | Posted March 31, 2015 at 21:13:48 in reply to Comment 110772

Well I don't speak for others in the North End, but I'm not interested in opposing things for the sake of opposing.

I read the staff report on the Tivoli ... it's pretty damning. For Councillor Farr to basically mow down Jason Thorne and PED is the most troubling aspect of this whole affair.

The focus is entirely on the wrong aspects of the file. This isn't about whether we want intensification and development in the core or West Harbour. Most of us, myself included, do. There are lots of ways to make something work on this parcel, but the current proposal isn't it. Not all proposals are good and not all intensification produces good urbanism. Of course, it's all academic now ... the die has been cast and we'll get to debate the results later.

The big picture is what message did Councillor Farr and his colleagues send to concerned residents, neighbourhood associations, local businesses, and developers?

Basically this is a gift to the property owner. It won't go unnoticed.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 31, 2015 at 21:17:19 in reply to Comment 110783

I'm curious to see what they come back with now that the podium is going to be 5 stories, and the first setback will be much greater from the street with a 2nd setback halfway up the building. It just might work if it turns out something like this:

http://itc-group.com/sites/itc-group.com...

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By RobF (registered) | Posted March 31, 2015 at 21:42:47 in reply to Comment 110784

No doubt design wise this would be an improvement. Not sure I'm as enamored with "tall" as you are. Densities can be achieved many different ways. The desire to over-intensify particular parcels is driven by a different logic than good design or urbanism. I suppose my ideal city would favor mid-rise scale and form given a choice, with some strategically chosen locations for tall flagship projects (preferably vetted for architectural distinction, which should be a key criteria for needing extra height).

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 31, 2015 at 21:56:10 in reply to Comment 110787

agreed....I attempted to post similar thoughts a few comments up with all the links.
This location isn't suited to a tall building without the corner property to take the brunt of the height.

And don't even get my started on architectural distinction. Drab brown glass manufacturers are going to love the new building boom in Hamilton.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted March 31, 2015 at 22:59:53 in reply to Comment 110788

We can dream. I know you are an advocate for good urbanism, and excellence in design and architecture -- among other things.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted March 31, 2015 at 23:07:52 in reply to Comment 110789

Incidentally Jason, here's a link to the latest development proposal for the Honest Ed's parcel in Toronto: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toro...

Not sure if you've seen or heard about this project. A lot of really interesting and innovative ideas. I imagine some day if we're lucky something like this might appear on the sea of surface parking around Wilson and John.

Comment edited by RobF on 2015-03-31 23:08:28

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 10:04:20 in reply to Comment 110790

yes. I've been following that project. You are so right. Our empty parking lot district has so much potential. We don't even need to keep all through streets. Imagine that entire parcel of land as a blank slate. I'd love to see something like the Honest Ed's proposal, combined with a version of Portland's 'park blocks'.

For those not familiar, the Park Blocks are exactly as they sound. Several blocks in downtown Portland - one section in the north side of downtown, one in the south side, that were converted to linear parks.

http://media.oregonlive.com/oregonian/ph...

They are narrow, yet house open passive lawns in the sun, walking paths, benches, kids playgrounds, sculptures and a strong focal point of large growth trees that line the central walking pathway.

http://avedapdx.com/images/CampusLife/pa...

http://culturaloregon.com/portland-art/

Imagine adding a linear park like this through the centre of our parking district with future development framing either side of it?

Potential exists for others such as along Caroline St from York to Bayfront Park as part of the Barton/Tiffany redevelopment district.

Also, I'd love to see Jackson Street closed, torn up and converted to a linear park from John to City Hall, with all parking at city hall put underground to create a massive urban park framed by MacNab, Hunter, Bay, Main.

Comment edited by jason on 2015-04-01 10:04:51

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By RobF (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 10:30:51 in reply to Comment 110801

I like the Park Blocks idea.

I vaguely recall seeing panels in Central Library a few years ago that detail green ribbons or linear parks somewhere in the core, but i don't remember the specific plan or project.

And yes, the planned green corridor on Caroline in the Barton-Tiffany Urban Design Concept is excellent.

The James North GO Mobility Hub Study also includes a greenway corridor on Strachan from Bayfront thru to the Keith and beyond eastward ... the open space corridor is already in place thru the North End, what is needed is political will and resources to implement it. And for people to ensure that other projects don't happen in its path that would later complicate or thwart it. It is supposed to link with plans for Ferguson, which you've mentioned before.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 11:05:03 in reply to Comment 110802

yes, these are important links and potential additions to the city-scape. We need to start lining these areas, and all streets with large growth trees.

It's really amazing how small Hamilton's tree canopy is in the urban areas.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 11:32:45 in reply to Comment 110810

Agree on the importance of the tree canopy and green space in the literal sense. But I was also thinking about the role of some of these corridors as dedicated multi-use pathways ... as vital connective tissue for so-called alternative transportation across the City. Caroline street and the Strachan greenway/corridor double as these in plans now on the books at City Hall.

Comment edited by RobF on 2015-04-01 11:33:36

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 13:00:26 in reply to Comment 110811

totally. Any green ribbon, linear park should have that feature for mobility.
We can do it here, but the will at city hall is so weak. You can imagine their eyes glazing over if someone proposed a city-connecting network of greenways that would connect seamlessly to our rail trails, waterfront trails and escarpment trails. Most cities would kill for such opportunity. Here we're happy to build parking lots at trail-heads and force everyone to drive to them.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 13:37:22 in reply to Comment 110814

Yes, I've noticed the lack of will/interest on council for this sort of stuff ... perhaps, with the exception of a couple of councilors, one of whom is no longer on council.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted March 31, 2015 at 21:29:29 in reply to Comment 110784

I tend toward the view that Loren Lieberman expressed on the OShow tonight. This was about enriching the property owner. This is no different than when Wal-Mart buys cheap industrial land and gets it re-zoned for commercial use as a big-box store. Changing the rules of the game on the fly is very profitable. We're all playing by new rules on James North now.

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By PleaseInMyBackyard (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 19:40:48 in reply to Comment 110756

Acclamation is a good model for James North ... flexibly applied in terms of exact scale, massing, and design, of course it's not built yet.

RobF, I finished it for you.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted March 31, 2015 at 20:55:29 in reply to Comment 110759

Neither is the Tivoli.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 09:25:14

If this goes through on a requirement for parking, that would be a shame. There is literally a parking structure across the road.

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By WhyohWhy (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 13:24:51 in reply to Comment 110705

Parking is required by zoning, not by common sense. They must provide parking no matter what surrounds the land.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 13:35:52 in reply to Comment 110726

Yeah, thats what I mean. The fault is be with the city --- do you think the developers would be paying for a robotic parking garage if they didn't have to?

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By treys (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 10:42:26

Awesome looking tower. Places to Grow Act. Build Up not Out.

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By WhyohWhy (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 13:18:47

When this is proposed, there is very little discussion.

Homewood Suites

and we get -

Homewood Suites 2

When this is proposed, there is very little discussion.

City Square

and we get this

But when the Tivoli project is proposed, we get immense push back.

Tivoli

Heaven forbid we give a developer a chance to build a building with enough density to allow them to build an attractive building that doesn't give us more crap in the skyline.

An attractive building that fills a vacant lot, keeps the historic building and takes on an urban form. Why are we fighting this?

We let absolute shite get built, but jump all over a developer that shares their vision, tries to bring people on board with the project and allows for public input. Keep this up, and nothing of any note will get built, ever.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 19:29:37 in reply to Comment 110723

The other renderings looked nice and we got shite (although I think City Square is a nice looking building).

So the rendering for James St N looks like shite already and should we expect it to look nicer once it's built?

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 15:09:46 in reply to Comment 110723

it's happening again.

150 Main West complex was proposed to look like this:

http://150mainwest.com/condo-amenities/c...

transparent and blue-tinted glass.
Instead they are installing glass as we speak and it's gross dark brown. Just what our skyline needs.

There's a reason Vancouver outright banned dark glass during it's building boom the past 30 years. This is Canada. We need light, airy, welcoming buildings in our cities, not more drab grey, brown and darkness.

Here's another that proposed a light-coloured glass:

http://www.knyarchitects.com/portfolio/r...

And here's what we got. Welcome to the 1980's USSR:

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2j4o5g4&...

When will the city start enforcing the drawings and renderings that are presented when buildings are approved??
We need a ban on dark glass, like Vancouver, immediately.

Comment edited by jason on 2015-03-30 15:10:15

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 16:10:39 in reply to Comment 110741

Look at the McMaster Health building vs. the renderings, bait & switch extraordinaire.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 13:36:51 in reply to Comment 110723

IMO a building that cuts short the James North streetwall would be 'absolute shite'.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 15:49:22 in reply to Comment 110732

The James North street-wall is now short, with the gap that has existed since Sam the Record Man let the building deteriorate until it had to be torn down.

To me this building fixes the street-wall and as an added bonus I won't have to look at that horrible siding on the Dominion Furniture building.

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By WhyohWhy (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 13:47:45 in reply to Comment 110732

How does this cut it short? Matches exactly the building next door, has two shops at grade, and a residential entrance.

This is a street wall.

So is this

Comment edited by WhyohWhy on 2015-03-30 13:48:18

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 14:55:13 in reply to Comment 110733

Lol, neither of those examples show a 20-story condo extending from the top of one of the buildings, which is why they work.

Also, matching the building next door is not necessarily something to aspire to, since it is one of the few buildings on that street with a big glass facade. The building across the road is new but has orange brick that matches the historic buildings.

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By Just sayin (anonymous) | Posted April 05, 2015 at 11:59:12 in reply to Comment 110824

The building across the street has large 21st century orange blocks, not bricks of the 20th century type. I wish they spent a little more on labour at put in actual bricks. It would have looked even better.

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted April 05, 2015 at 19:00:48 in reply to Comment 110883

To me it looks like a nonstandard brick size, which I think actually makes it appear older. Just my impression though, not sure if that makes any actual sense.

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By PleaseInMyBackyard (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 17:55:18

A couple of things trouble me with this article.

1. Are the author, Allison Chewter, and support John Neary a couple? I ask as they appear together as a single Author on RTH. If not a couple then very close and John should have made that known when commenting in support of the author's views.

2. This author seems to be the very definition of a NIMBY as her Twitter account profile - twitter.com/alliechew - has a picture of Melbourne illustrating exactly what she's opposing in Hamilton. A new tall building in an urban environment with older lower buildings. Okay in Melbourne, but not okay in Hamilton? Huh?

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By AChew (registered) | Posted March 31, 2015 at 21:38:13 in reply to Comment 110749

For future reference the photo I have as my twitter background is of this intersection in Melbourne's CBD. I keep it as one of the best examples I've ever experienced of varied massing in an urban context. The building at the foreground (Florsheim Shoes) is 2-3 stories. The buildings directly abutting it are both 3 stories. The buildings next to those are 4 and 6 stories. The next are 8 and 12. And up and up in height and density with the tallest tower located in the centre of the block. If you read the article you'll see this is very similar to the suggestions I provided for the Tivoli site. This image is a good precedent image and should be considered a best practice when introducing increased height and density in a historic low-mid rise context.

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By PleaseInMyBackyard (anonymous) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 10:52:26 in reply to Comment 110786

Then the Tivoli is step one. Or, is a small creep to that density preferred? The result is the same.

Let's lay it out. Less than a month ago you were quoted by the CBC that you opposed the development as the theatre was to be torn down.

Obviously, you had little understanding of the project a month ago, but opposed it no matter what. I see the theatre tear down objection has morphed into "Governance". If you want to know, ask the developer...

I don't like objection based on not knowing. It's pretty simple, just ask.

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By AChew (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 19:00:44 in reply to Comment 110808

The CBC article stated the following:

"Allison Chewter, co-chair of the Beasley Neighbourhood Association's planning and development subcommittee, wanted a deferral too. The association believes the tower is incompatible with the neighbourhood, she said. It also doesn't like that the project adds more surface parking and doesn't include plans to incorporate the historic theatre."

I never said that the proposal included tearing down the theatre. I simply mentioned that in the plans submitted by the developer there seemed to be little information regarding the actually restoration of the theatre and as such we as a neighbourhood association had fears that it would be found structurally unstable and potentially be removed. Following the interview with CBC I spent over an hour talking to the architect and planning consultant getting more information about the project. When the article was released I noticed the lack of clarity and potential for confusion in the above section, which was paraphrased by the CBC, and was in again in contact with the architect, planner and developer to explain the context of my statements. I apologized and they accepted my apology.

I'm curious: have you read the City Planner's report? Or the applicant's Urban Design Brief? Planning Justification Report? Heritage Impact Assessment? Or the City's Peer Review of the proposal? Our objections and concerns are not based in ignorance but in the realities of the proposal, good planning practice, and our past experience with developers in Hamilton.

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By PleaseInMyBackyard (anonymous) | Posted April 05, 2015 at 09:59:59 in reply to Comment 110832

"doesn't include plans to incorporate the historic theatre."

- But it did than and does now. So how informed were you on the project, before stating your opposition?

"Our objections and concerns are not based in ignorance"

- How many meetings have you had with the developer, prior to your published objections? Clearly you've had little knowledge with the finer details of the developer's plans. That ='s ignorance.

"our past experience with developers in Hamilton."

- That explains a lot, you view all developers as the same. Very telling.

"I apologized and they accepted my apology."

- Great, but you could have (should have) issued a public clarification. It took my pushing for you to do that here.

Anyways, I'm glad that the project is moving forward and I'm sure that a successful project will contribute positively to our city. All the best.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 21:15:05 in reply to Comment 110749

Says someone who is commenting anonymously....

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By PleaseInMyBackyard (anonymous) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 10:53:07 in reply to Comment 110770

"fmurray" - psoliverio.

Happy?

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 21:29:06 in reply to Comment 110809

Yes, thanks!

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By FelineNibbler (anonymous) | Posted March 31, 2015 at 01:39:50

You have to be kidding me. Minus the Hampton, hamilton's downtown could be Pyongyang's. Wait, scratch that, that's an insult to Pyongyang! our Downtown is so derelict! I live in a luxury Apartment overlooking the City Square development. It has done no wrong. It has breathed green air into the city. The factor's are leaving, and so should the disbelievers. Condos are part of very complex Pedestrian-orientated atmosphere. We should be working towards this! infact, I'd challenge every single person who has a better idea for the graffiti filled dump that is the current Tivoli. 22 Stories. think about it. Toronto is going to have a 88 Story tower [Mirvish + Gehry]. Who in there right mind would argue with a simple 22 Story tower?

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By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted March 31, 2015 at 23:08:55

What are the odds that this thing actually gets built?

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 09:11:22 in reply to Comment 110791

This, as with the Connolly project, is one of the most worrying aspects.

There is a very good chance that the project will never get built, but rather the land will be flipped after several years at a big profit to another developer along with the increased height zoning (from 6 to 22 stories). Clearly the huge increase in height has greatly increased the value of the land.

I hope that the increased height zoning is only for this current site plan, not any future project, and that the zoning would revert to 6 stories if the land is sold. It would be helpful if someone from the City could confirm this.

And, as with the Connolly, if the current project does not go ahead it would be argued that it was the "heritage preservation" part that made the project uneconomical and so the new owners could very well end up getting the 22 stories without having to preserve what remains of the Tivoli (which was the original argument for increased height in the first place).

And, as others have pointed out, even in the current 22 stories + Tivoli arrangement there are much better ways to mass the development (i.e. with an actual set back!) to better integrate with the street.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-04-01 09:12:25

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By Steve (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 16:12:12 in reply to Comment 110795

I think The Tivoli has the best chance for actually being built. I think Atrizen, The Connolly and Acclamation are all longer shots, and in that order.

It's my believe (without first-hand knowledge) the Diamantes have an emotional attachment to seeing the development succeed. I think their work with a permanent home for the Youth Ballet provides the drive to get the project completed. Also, I saw a media tweet yesterday from the PC Meeting yesterday that said that financing was apparently already in place for the development.

With regards to the following, "i.e. with an actual set back!" I think you'll find the theatre prevents more of a set back from taking place.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 16:44:44 in reply to Comment 110827

I sincerely hope that's true. Farr's proposed compromise included a larger set back ... but I couldn't find out how much it was increased.

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By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 14:50:24 in reply to Comment 110795

I think we're a long way from shovels in the ground on this thing and many others. There are a fair few proposed condo developments in downtown Hamilton and while there seems to be quite a bit of demand for condos in the city I wonder what the ceiling is. Many of these projects are far bigger than anything that's built in this city for 30 years.

I can't imagine that all of these plans go through at their proposed scales. I'm prepared for many of them to stall indefinitely. I would have more confidence if I saw more job growth in the core to help support all these residential units or perhaps these developers are counting on baby boomers looking to downsize.

In any case, you raise good questions about the legacy of these zoning amendments on future developers and developments.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 13:41:25

Another concept for massing that doesn't overwhelm the street, protects sunlight on the sidewalk and is much less intrusive than a straight slab of 22-stories would be something like this:

http://www.mybesthome.com/gallery/nSal00...

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 21:28:31 in reply to Comment 110817

That's a beautifully designed building.

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted April 01, 2015 at 22:07:29 in reply to Comment 110833

It is, but it requires a significantly larger footprint and is a more costly design.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 02, 2015 at 07:13:57 in reply to Comment 110836

same concept can be applied on any footprint. And remember, there is a large footprint in front of the Tivoli. They are simply choosing to waste half of it on a parking structure.

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted April 02, 2015 at 07:29:31 in reply to Comment 110837

You call it a waste but parking is a city and logistical requirement. I assume with above ground parking they're not going below grade much at all. This saves the developer millions and no doubt is what makes the project feasible. Developers want to make their buildings as beautiful as possible, it means they can sell units for more, but it has to be balanced with the bottom line. Neither they, nor the banks lending to them, have any desire to lose money.

Comment edited by Dylan on 2015-04-02 07:31:09

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By schmarking (anonymous) | Posted April 02, 2015 at 07:55:32 in reply to Comment 110839

We do not have a parking deficit here. Wtf is wrong with council? They are incapable of planning ahead with transit but their vision is razor sharp when preparing for future road and parking demand... how about instead of forcing developers to build car elevators, we get started on transit. We could put in a bus lane to start.... oh wait

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted April 02, 2015 at 08:24:02 in reply to Comment 110840

This is parking for residents, not the public. Providing parking for condo owners is a requirement in all municipalities. And why would a developer limit their sales market by telling potential buyers that there is plenty of parking downtown, they just need to walk a couple blocks to their car every day?

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By Gored (anonymous) | Posted April 02, 2015 at 09:06:11 in reply to Comment 110841

"Providing parking for condo owners is a requirement in all municipalities." Nope, just backwards municipalities.

thestar.com/business/real_estate/2015/03/16/condo-buyers-in-enormous-shift-saying-no-thanks-to-parking.html

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted April 02, 2015 at 09:24:18 in reply to Comment 110842

Well they still do in Toronto, a city whose downtown is less car dependent than Hamilton's.

Even if it was not a municipal requirement A certain percentage of prospective condo owners want on site parking. Not offering it could hurt sales and jeopardize the project as a whole. Objecting to a building offering parking in its design is just silly in my opinion.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted April 02, 2015 at 09:53:11 in reply to Comment 110843

I think the point is if the city let the developers choose the amount of parking to include as part of their business plan, they would not waste as much land on parking.

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted April 02, 2015 at 10:32:58 in reply to Comment 110846

They do in a way. The City allowed for The Connolly to have fewer than 50% parking. I believe that was a first and is a hopeful sign for the future.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted April 02, 2015 at 16:40:56 in reply to Comment 110849

But the bylaw still has the ridiculous parking requirements so every project needs to go through a whole appeal process, and there are cash fees in lieu of parking and other idiocies that need to be corrected. Some applications trigger parking requirements that would require more square footage than the building that actually houses the business... it's not physically possible for a real city to be built that way. The bylaws need to change NOW.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 02, 2015 at 09:38:31 in reply to Comment 110843

I'm objecting to them wasting land for their parking. Put it underground like every proper development in every city on the planet.

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted April 02, 2015 at 10:27:56 in reply to Comment 110844

I don't like the land being used for parking either, but going underground a couple of levels means millions more in construction costs. The profit margins on these developments are not so great that the city could mandate such a thing without jeopardizing the feasibility of the project as a whole. Unless of course they allow them to build taller, but that's obviously also a point of contention.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted April 11, 2015 at 06:06:43

I hate set-backs. There is an opportunity to build something that looks like it came out of Amsterdam. Funky, tall and skinny.

This is not going to be an imposing building like some NIMBYs are making it out to be. First 22-stories isn't that tall, it's a normal tall like Hamilton's 70s stock of high rises and secondly it's a relatively small footprint...it will take a pedestrian 30 seconds to walk past it.

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By sunlight (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2015 at 10:21:35

I hate tall to the street blotting out the sun and creating wind tunnels making the street uninhabitable, but that's just me

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By Marko (registered) | Posted May 30, 2015 at 05:48:05 in reply to Comment 110912

The project is up and about to be running and the council has approved it. Go Hamilton Go! I say build it higher and more of them. All you nay sayers have nothing better than to be pessimistic about the growth of this city by small infractions or whatever you want to call it. Tell ya what, go buy a shack down by the water and stay off the internet and youre life will be great, just as ours will be with growth and economic development bringing this city on the map.

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By Marko (registered) | Posted May 30, 2015 at 05:57:24

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