Downtown Bureau

Downtown Update

Just a quick update before the summer break, including a couple of projects on the escarpment.

By Jason Leach
Published June 27, 2007

Lister Money

If you haven't already heard, the province has promised $7 million in funding for the Lister Block redevelopment. The public health department is supposed to move in, and Mohawk College's music department is also interested.

I was worried that the main floor and arcade would be filled with streetlife-destroying office cubicles. When I asked Councillor Brian McHattie, a major Lister supporter, about this, he reassured me that it will be "retail on the street and in the historic arcade."MEC in Burlington

RTH writer Sean Burak has been waging a campaign to get a new Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) store into Hamilton. The outfitter is planning to expand into the western GTA, and Hamilton seemed like a great fit with the company's policy of renovating and revitalizing old buildings.

We even tried to get Hamilton's Planning and Economic and Development Department interested, but sadly, MEC has since settled on a Burlington location at Brant Street and Leighland Road, just south of the QEW near the Burlington GO Station.

Anonymous Donation

Fantastic News: an anonymous couple has donated $1 million to the Beasley Community Centre to expand their early childhood education programs.

This is a great boost for a neighbourhood that really needs all the support it can get.

Nonymous Donation

David Braley, CEO of Orlick Industries owner of the BC Lions and a McMaster University graduate, has just announced a $50 million donation to the McMaster medical school.

Staircase for Sale

Anyone want to buy an incredible cafe/theatre/community centre? A for sale sign is up in front of the Staircase Cafe building on Dundurn just north of King.

Overlooking Downtown

This is outside the downtown, but I wanted to make sure it gets covered since the Mountain needs to urbanize more if it's going to be more livable.

Two new projects up the escarpment are worth watching to see how they develop:

  1. A bid to build three or four multi-storey buildings on a 9.6 hectare (24 acre) brownfield site north of Scenic Dr. is feeling the backlash from neighbours led by Councillor Terry Whitehead, who would rather see - you guessed it - more single family homes on the spot.

    Folks, this sort of development is exactly what the Mountain needs to be building on huge pieces of land a stone's throw from the downtown/west end served by transit, escarpment trails and the 403/Linc. Think of how amazing it would be to have a condo overlooking the entire city.

    The developer, Deanlee Management, is considering scaling down the development to about 700 condo units and turning an attached woodlot to the city.

  2. A three-storey mixed commercial and residential development proposed for a vacant lot at the corner of Mohawk Rd. E. and Upper Ottawa is also generating flak from neighbours who are concerned about traffic and noise, this time led by Councillor Tom Jackson.

    Again, the neighbours are hoping for single family homes instead.

    Fourteen two-storey townhomes over a commercial space (hmm, sounds a lot like the "slums" of Westdale, Concession and Locke) - and a neighbour says she'll need to sit in her backyard with "earplugs on"? This is exactly the kind of positive intensification that would make the neighbourhood more livable and sustainable.

Neither project is insane or out of place like a lot of the "50-storey tower next to single homes" you see in Toronto.

One is a three-storey building at a major city intersection, the other is a huge brownland project overlooking the city minutes from downtown and served well by transit, highways, escarpment stairs and the chedoke rail trail to the downtown/west end/mcmaster.

Our council needs to educate citizens that the greatest cause of 'congestion' is single family homes and their associated 2-3 cars. Folks living in apartments are more likely to walk/cycle and use transit to get around; or at the worst, have one car, not three.

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

19 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Jon Dalton (anonymous) | Posted June 27, 2007 at 14:26:42

A new wine bar / bistro just opened up on my favourite street in the world, James St. South, filling up an empty storefront in that row of old stone buildings. It's a few doors down from the House of Java. The recently re-opened One Duke appears to be thriving with a near full patio in the late afternoon and evening. James South keeps getting better.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted June 27, 2007 at 15:06:01

yea, sorry. been too busy for a proper update this time. Boo's Bistro is what you're referring to. It looks amazing. 'Chef Boo' is the same chef who used to work at Rude Native (before it stunk) and the Junction Cafe. James South does rock. One Duke is awesome. Also, Maxim's cafe/deli is open at King and Walnut and definitely worth a visit...if it's too hot for cappuccino, they have Stoney Creek Dairy ice cream.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted June 27, 2007 at 15:08:15

I am getting kind of depressed all over again about MEC...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Jon Dalton (anonymous) | Posted June 28, 2007 at 08:57:07

Let's organize carpools to Brant and Plains instead

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By block43 (anonymous) | Posted June 28, 2007 at 14:55:49

Why don't we all just shop at Adventure Attic (a locally owned business in downtown dundas) instead?!?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By misadventur'd (anonymous) | Posted June 28, 2007 at 15:37:51

how about because they're way overpriced and their customer service is crap? they don't like to stand behind their products.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mr adventure (anonymous) | Posted June 28, 2007 at 16:15:45

Huh, I've never had any problems with them. Had to exchange a coat once and they took it back no problems. They're not the cheapest but I like to support independent businesses.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted June 28, 2007 at 16:58:59

AA lost my loyalty when they abandoned Westdale.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Concerned Observer (anonymous) | Posted June 28, 2007 at 23:22:16

Small scale intensification projects will continue to face objection. It is too bad that this is the case. It will take leadership to have these projects supported and developed.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By NorthEndRules (anonymous) | Posted June 29, 2007 at 01:22:34

Went downtown today to get my car fixed at Canadian Tire. (This location has honest and dependable service) Walked to Maxims and had a Montreal Smoked. It was dammed tasty with the side salad. Noticed the Spallaci building is at ground level. It's coming along. No activity at Connaught and no activity next to Pizza Pizza.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Jon Dalton (anonymous) | Posted July 03, 2007 at 09:42:38

Adventure Attic gave me excellent service when I went there to get my bag. The guy there told me everything there is to know about backpacks and let me try on every one they had. It was an excellent shopping experience and I'd reccommend that place. It does suck that they moved to Dundas but it's a nice bike ride or HSR transit trip to get out there.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Loves Hamilton (anonymous) | Posted July 04, 2007 at 12:46:11

Stopped in at Maxim's Deli/Cafe in International Village last night for Dessert and Cappuccino. It's a gem.
The coffee, cake, and service were AMAZING. The owner was extremely friendly and appreciative. We sat right in the front window and the atmosphere was very cozy with a European feel. Highly recommended.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Robot (anonymous) | Posted July 22, 2007 at 02:39:26

Burlington is better than nothing, can still bike to it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Block43 (anonymous) | Posted July 23, 2007 at 21:47:00

Went to Boo's Bistro on James South this evening and had a excellent meal. The decor was really classy and polished. The food and atmosphere were perfect. No complaints (and I'm usually pretty picky). I think this might be my new haunt.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted July 24, 2007 at 13:46:12

We ate at the new Thai place on King William and it was awesome. Reasonable prices, really amazing decor... great service and food. Highly recommended. Try the lemongrass juice.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted July 24, 2007 at 14:57:29

great tips folks. keep em coming. sadly, we've lost Pardon My French at Main and Gage.

I hope the owners re-open downtown somewhere...King William or James Street would be perfect. This city will continue to drive away business as long as downtown, lower city streets are used for nothing more than freeways to the big box blandness around us. Too bad. This eatery was amazing, and the Delta neighbourhood could be amazing if given the 'Toronto treatment' - street parking, streetcars, 1 lane of traffic each way. Too bad city council doesn't care.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Frank (registered) | Posted August 01, 2007 at 12:02:05

There's always Canadian Outback on the Mountain across from Limeridge Mall. You just have to pull a U-turn to get to it! What the heck was that road designer hopped up on?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By N. George (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2007 at 22:27:41

I just came from "Maxim's Cafe" at the SW Corner of Walnut/King. I discovered it by accident when leaving the Mustard Festival. I had the opportunity of meeting the owner, who was friendly. The decor was wondering, seemed french to me. Also, the service was really great. Lastly, they had some old jazz music on. Really enjoyed myself. I highly recommend dropping in for a coffee.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By green growth (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2007 at 00:12:21

My first comment / read this site all the time / great info ...
Take a look at the Aug 24/ 07 Mountain News article on what could be one of the best residential development proposals on the Mountain ( or in Hamilton )in years.Finally someone has the foresight to intensify without taking out more class I farmland and utilizing existing infrastructure. Watch the nimby neighbours fight this; for sure .
Maybe one of the Techies could get the article printed out for this site
Has anyone out there followed any of the new initiatives by the Province or the Hamilton GRIDS program ??

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds