Revitalization

Could Stinson Surprise Be Iconic Tower?

By Trey Shaughnessy
Published April 03, 2009

Harry Stinson has a surprise.

On April 11 at the AGH, Stinson will make an announcement regarding the Hamilton Grand Hotel Condo, to be built on John Street between King and Main.

The current design calls for an 11-story building with an early 20th century architectural style. The original plan was five stories, but soon after the height was increased and capped with a striking roofline because of positive sales prospects.

Original plan for the Hamilton Grand
Original plan for the Hamilton Grand

Height increased to 12 stories
Height increased to 12 stories

Stinson claims the new form is "significant and very real". Could this be on the scale of the super-tall Connaught tower plan?

Connaught Tower rendering
Connaught Tower rendering

Fans of Stinson's buildings know that he likes to build tall, impossible-to-ignore buildings with a "wow factor". Could this be the building that changes Hamilton's skyline?

One King West dominates the Toronto skyline
One King West dominates the Toronto skyline

Trey lives in Williamsville NY via Hamilton. He is a Marketing Manager for Tourism and Destination Marketing in the Buffalo-Niagara Metro.

His essays have appeared in The Energy Bulletin, Post Carbon Institute, Peak Oil Survival, and Tree Hugger.

And can't wait for the day he stops hearing "on facebook".

23 Comments

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By everywhere (anonymous) | Posted April 03, 2009 at 10:55:26


Not a tower Trey. But something that could tower over this city and just do something very significant in the process.

Stay tuned.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 03, 2009 at 11:17:18

If 'everywhere' actually has some inside info, then I'd say we could be talking about a 40+ storey tower. Any building that could 'tower over this city' would have to be 40+. So, perhaps not a 100 storey dream like the Connaught plan, but a significant building nonetheless.

I'm going to assume that whatever he is increasing the height to is based on sales and reservations, which is a good sign. Much more concrete than plans for a 100 storey building with no sales or reservations.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted April 03, 2009 at 11:52:52

While I'm excited about something a little higher, I think the current design at 11 floors would have been best because it would have matched the height of the existing Royal Connaught Hotel, making a nice, uniform "wall" of buildings along John South. I don't think anything taller than 15 stories is even going to work on the small plot of land that Harry purchased (or plans to). I doubt the footprint would accomodate anything taller than 20 stories.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 03, 2009 at 12:36:28

ultimately, I just want to see the darn thing built. As far as footprints go, it's actually a decent size and based on his work at 1KW, a tall tower can easily be built on a sliver of land. I would expect that if this thing is turning into a tall tower he'll use the heritage style design on the bottom floors to match Connaught and then go modern for the upper floors....like 1KW.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted April 03, 2009 at 12:48:22

I'm looking forward to the announcement, I only regret I can't be there in person.

Everywhere says "Not a tower Trey. But something that could tower over this city and just do something very significant in the process." seems to suggest to me it's not a tower, but something very big nevertheless.

I don't think he'll put a tower on the Hamilton grand, it would be out of character for the building.

Anyone think it's possible that he's been so successful that the Connaught developers have decided to team up for a smaller scale project? No tower, just redevelop the whole block at the same height as the current connaught plus a floor or two?

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By BE (anonymous) | Posted April 03, 2009 at 12:57:12

If the announcement is anything other than: "We have presold enough units and have the financial backing to break ground on this project within the next year", Prepare to be disappointed.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 03, 2009 at 13:05:16

Absolutely BE, that's the announcement I'm waiting for. This is a well-designed, high quality project that could become an example for Hamilton as well as raise the bar (which has been dragging along at ground level for years) for other developers in this city.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted April 03, 2009 at 13:11:00

I was thinking the same thing RobertD, that maybe this will have something to do with the Connaught. Check out google maps and you'll see the Hamilton Grand property backs onto the Connaught. Maybe joining the two together or the majority of the block into a development.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted April 03, 2009 at 13:24:09

It's a quality project that keeps getting better.

I think the announcement will be significant from the point of view of it being more 'wow'. I think for sure it'll be taller. If it is selling well, adding more floors to the current design would start to look awkward. It'll have to have a modern glass tower component.

I'm hoping it'll be around the 20-story mark.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 03, 2009 at 13:41:46

maybe we should have a contest for folks to guess how many floors they will announce next week. Lol.

I'll put my money on 30.

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By Dundasguy (anonymous) | Posted April 04, 2009 at 09:32:16

I'll put my money on 100 because that would match Harry's ego.

This is another one of his pie in the sky pipedreams.

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By crhayes (registered) - website | Posted April 04, 2009 at 16:28:06

Dundasguy you are ridiculously cynical and negative. If it wasn't for people like Harry Stinson this city would have no chance of turning around. You should be thankful we have someone who is willing to risk their reputation on actually building something significant in our city.

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By Dundasguy (anonymous) | Posted April 05, 2009 at 19:49:53

Reputation!?

I was talking about Harry Stinson. The same guy who took the Mirvish's to the cleaners and blew the 1 King project. The same guy who lost $100K of his investors money on a gamble to buy a property he could not afford.

Don't praise this guy as a savior, he is a snake-oil salesman.

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By urban_planner01 (anonymous) | Posted April 05, 2009 at 20:09:57

I think Dundas guy needs to become Oakville Guy or something instead.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted April 06, 2009 at 09:49:12

Dundasguy, we're all waiting for your downtown Hamilton development announcement.

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By urban_planner01 (anonymous) | Posted April 06, 2009 at 11:58:11

Anyone know if this meeting is open to the public? Also what time is this happening at?

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted April 06, 2009 at 12:23:52

I'm pretty sure it's invite only.

We'll cover the announcement here.

Stinson lost $ and Mirvish walked away with millions. who got ripped?

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By Dave (anonymous) | Posted April 06, 2009 at 19:49:54

I love the people that are waiting for Stinson to fail.

I think John Samson (Weakerthans) paints a great picture of this kind of hater in the song 'One Great City' Check it out

www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5AacGXjkKE

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By hunter (anonymous) | Posted April 08, 2009 at 10:49:26

guys, andrew dreschel has an update on the surprise.

thespec.com/Opinions/article/545102

-it will remain 11 storeys

-out of 100 purchasers, only 3 are hamiltonians

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By Dr Downtown (anonymous) | Posted April 08, 2009 at 11:14:34

Some "update". 600 words, lots of innuendo, an unflattering picture of Stinson - and all for only two tidbits of information. Dreschel must be so conflicted over this. On the one hand, Stinson wants to do something truly impressive downtown, so Dreschel wants to squelch on principal. On the other hand, Dreschel's favorite pet politician (Diianni) Stinson's business partner. What to do, what to do?

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 08, 2009 at 12:14:47

I personally hope that the entire building is bought by folks moving here from Toronto. They know how to live city life. Walking the streets, shopping at local shops and cafes. Not running for the hills if someone asks for change. If Hamiltonians were buying into this they'd probably be demanding a big parking lot next door with a Hortons on the main floor. Lol.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted April 09, 2009 at 15:12:57

Actually, Jason, it's those moving into Downtown Toronto from outside of the City that make it so exciting. As far as I know plenty of 'Torontonians' have moved to the suburbs, and it's most Young Urband Professionals (aka YUPPIES) from smaller towns/communities who desire an urban lifestyle that make Downtown Toronto so lively.

If you had nothing but Torontonians moving downtown, everyone would walk all over eachother, no one would say 'Hello', and that friendly 'Hamiltonian' attitude will be wiped from existance... or into the suburbs.

Would you REALLY want to live in a city full of Rushed, Rude & Arrogant Torontonians? Really? I live downtown and I know I don't!

If this announcement is nothing other than, "The Hotel has sold enough units to start contstruction", then I will stop having faith in Stinson and his radical ways!

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By LL (registered) - website | Posted April 10, 2009 at 01:07:42

Really?:

I don't know if you've got your eyes open. People are maaadd rushed in Hamilton, especially in cars, which makes outdoor space constantly treacherous and tense. A lot of H'ians display crassly bourgeois attitudes, despite a lack of riches.

Jason:

I'm a born and raised Hammertonian from the lunchbucket class. A lot of the LL comrades would probably denounce you as being classist or petty bourgeois or a damn yuppie. But I really relate to what you're saying, even if I think you need to look beyond shopping and walking for new urbanist values.

Hamilton has creative people. But the overall vibe is uber-conformist. I think that's because the class that made Hamilton such a vibrant place in the past - the industrial working class - has been decomposing in NA since the seventies.

For Hamilton's sake, I welcome TO commuters as a source of reinvigorated energy. People who decry gentrification forget that white collars are still working class. They have their own economic stresses and concerns, including precarious employment and a workweek that has transcended the clock.

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