Jason is a marked man. He was threatened with bodily harm if he did not publish a new downtown update soon.
By Jason Leach
Published November 27, 2007
Well, the absence of a consistent Downtown Update has been noticed. This thread on the venerable Skyscraper Page forum has a wealth of news on recent developments around the city. It's really gratifying to see that people really enjoy knowing what's going on in their city.
Well, it's been a while but we're back with another downtown update. There certainly hasn't been a shortage of action in the city lately, just an excess of action on my personal schedule. Without further ado:
A few more buildings are being renovated along this great strip. No word yet on what is to come at street level, but high quality apartments and lofts are being put into the upper floors. Exactly what we need downtown.
History and Heritage. If you haven't been to this new gallery/history museum yet, get off your duff and check it out. Simply amazing. It's right across from Mixed Media. Check out the cool tin ceiling, like so many of the wonderful old buildings downtown.
Harry Stinson on James North? Yup. He was at Acclamation Bar and Grill last week giving his two cents (assuming he can afford that) on the state of affairs in Hamilton. He's also teasing us about possibly developing somewhere downtown. Stay tuned.
A new hot pot restaurant has opened a couple of doors down from the Rouge River Chinese restaurant. A nice reno job, and steamy windows would lead me to believe that the pots are indeed hot.
Picca-deli is now open on James, just north of the Gore. Great fruit stand with salads, sandwiches and a wonderful little market selling pasta and other herbs and spices. This really is a great addition to King and James.
Baily's has opened on James North. I'm not even sure what it is, but it's definitely a cool looking eatery/lounge of some sort. It's next door to Dunas Verde Café.
Christmas is one of the best times of the year downtown. Friday, December 7th is the official Tree of Hope lighting ceremony in Gore Park. This event has become a family tradition of ours. Kids love the merry-go-round and the mini-train. Walk through the park and check out the lights and manger scene. Someday we hope to see regular events in Gore Park, but in the meantime, enjoy the little we do have. Snag a hot chocolate from PAM's or Infusions and enjoy the heart of the city as the park is lit up.
The Terraces on King are under construction and appear to have reached the halfway point. This building seems to fit in well with the neighbourhood already.
Three16 Lounge continues to do brisk business and is fast becoming a hot spot for young couples and professionals in the core.
A new café will be opening soon a few doors down from Three16. No details yet, but the reno looks snazzy.
Another streetfront commercial space is available for rent in a newly renovated building across from Three16. Exposed brick and great street presence.
Arts Hamilton is all set up in their new home here in the Village. Rumours are floating around of another big catch for this hood, but I've been told to keep quiet, or else!
Back a few blocks east, a plethora of new shops/stores has opened in the Emerald/Tisdale/Victoria area. Some of them don't appear to be too legit, but others do. If anyone has checked out this candy/coffee/ice cream place at West Avenue let us know what it's like.
Ja-Nice BBQ has opened on Tisdale just north of King. Jamaican BBQ Chicken? Now you're talking my language.
Back downtown, construction continues on the new apartment building at King and John. The final floor is being put up as we speak. Let's hope for a nice café with patio on the ground floor.
Renos continue at the Victoria Hall/MacKay buildings at the Gore. Two of my favourite buildings in the city. Glad to see them restored instead of demo'd like too many others lately.
Royal Connaught Hotel – nothing to report so far. We'll keep you posted as updates materialize (if updates materialize).
Treble Hall – the city is attempting to purchase it and redevelop it. Here's hoping they can. It's a great building in a prominent location.
This is actually King West: Two projects leaked to the public a little early are a proposed concert hall at King and Hess. Possibly the House of Blues according to local rumours. Also, the city is waiting to hear from the police association to see if they are interested in office space being built as part of a mixed use project at King William and Walnut. This project will incorporate condos, parking and street retail.
Hot Spot Shawarma appears close to opening. It's got quite a funky interior for a shawarma place. Can't wait to check it out.
London Tap House – construction continues at a fever pitch at this place. This might be the next 'big thing' downtown once it opens.
97 years of history is gone. HMP has been completely demolished now. RTH has obtained a large rendering of the new Hilton Hotel planned for that site. The sooner, the better. The corner looks ridiculous right now.
More demolition – This time on James South. no hilton hotel here. A wonderful 1800's building was demolished by St Joes hospital in order to accommodate their 'portable' currently sitting at James and St Joes Drive. Sheesh.
Some dude from TO just bought the Bad Dog Café building on Locke South. No word yet as to what this means for the coolest café in the Hammer.
Speaking of cafes, Green Monkey Clothing and Sportswear and Twice Lucky (the used clothing store) have moved into their permanent digs on Locke South. Green Monkey is now open, a really cool looking store that appears to be geared to a younger crowd.
Also, rumour has Starbucks taking up the old Robert David location with a graphic design studio moving in upstairs.
A lot of work continues up by the General Hospital. Two new buildings are being built north of the hospital and the historic building on Barton near Ferguson is currently being restored for use as a Ronald McDonald style home.
I heard a commercial on Jack FM 92.5 last week. They were advertising the upcoming Bruce Springsteen concert at Copps and how you could win tickets.
Here was their final line: "the good part is, you get to see the Boss live. The great part is, you get to leave Hamilton after the show."
I've heard many complaints over the years about the lack of good sports stores downtown. Well, a new one has opened in Jackson Square: Core Sports Hamiton. Stop by and check it out. It's a few doors down from Coles Books.
Some rather large renovations are now taking place inside of Jackson Square. Nobody seems to know what is happening, but we'll let you know once we find out. Personally, I think mall management should chase down the Sears store, which might be leaving the Centre Mall location soon. First things first, though. How about getting a website for the mall?
A Taste of Vietnam looks ready to open in Jackson Square at the Farmers Market entrance. I can't wait to be able to grab some pho while doing groceries.
The infamous Transit Service Enhancements Implementation Plan the Public Works Department is presenting to the 2008 transit budget COW has not a single word word about LRT. It's all buses and articulated hybrids [PDF].
This is insane. I'm actually kind of stunned. Here I am complaining because these guys are suggesting to spend $159 million on transit - but it's a one-time shot. If we screw it up, we're stuck forever with nifty, noisy buses and not much else.
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