Downtown Bureau

Downtown Update

The International Village is well on its way to becoming Hamilton's most multicultural eating neighbourhood.

By Jason Leach
Published June 16, 2006

Liu Liu Hotpot is moving from James South to the old Marvel Beauty building on Walnut South, between King and Main. King East through the International Village is well on its way to becoming Hamilton's most multicultural eating neighbourhood. Toss in 500 upcoming condo units and things are looking up in the new "Village".

A new Antique shop called S&S Antiques has opened on James South. Next door, Barker St pet boutique has just opened after moving from Locke South, and to the other side of S&S, the brilliantly renovated Bistro Parisien is about to open. A new graphic design studio has also opened in this same rowhouse along James South.

A new restaurant is planning to open next to Dunas Verde Café on James North. We'll pass on more info when we receive it.

New artists studios are available on James North next door to the You Me Gallery just north of Barton. A sign in the window has all relevant info for those interested.

Construction has begun on the old Strathcona Ave firehall in preparation for a new five storey residential building on the site that will incorporate the historic firehall.

Not really downtown, but in the vibrant Concession St neighbourhood overlooking the city - a new tower crane has been erected near Up. Wentworth on the Mountain brow for a new 11 storey condo. On recent walks through Bayfront Park, Sam Lawrence Park and along York Blvd, Pier 4 and 8 this crane was easily visible.

I haven't seen any design drawings for the new building, but given it's prominent location and visibility I hope the design will be striking. The views from the building will be spectacular. Let's hope the views of the building will also be great.

Construction has begun on a new 9-storey student residence complex at the old CNIB site on Main West. Again, no design drawings have been made public to my knowledge.

At the Spallacci block, the foundation hole has been dug, the area fenced off and the new Shoppers next door opened to the public. Next step is actual construction of the long-awaited eleven-storey residential building in the heart of International Village.

Council is expected to approve a redevelopment plan for the old Thistle Club site on Robinson street next week. The new plans call for 44 street-facing townhomes designed to fit the architecture and character of the historic Durand neighbourhood. Parking will be accommodated behind the units similar to the Durand Park development that was just completed at Park and Robinson.

This should create an attractive streetscape along Charlton, Park and Robinson and represent more proper infill in the downtown core.

A unique request is coming before the Planning and Economic Development on June 20th. It is to refurbish the long-neglected billboard atop the old Spectator building at King and John.

The proposal calls for a design that will reflect the architecture of downtown Hamilton, while providing more modern advertising space by breaking each side of the board into four squares that are backlit and easy to read.

I've always noticed this billboard up there and thought it would make a great candidate for renovation as a unique piece of Hamilton's history. Me thinks this proposal has considerable merit and would be a welcome sign of faith and revitalization in our downtown core. Literally!

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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