Revitalization

Stinson Abandons Hamilton Grand Plan

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 26, 2009

If you can get past his obvious glee at the failure of another downtown revitalization project, Andrew Dreschel's column today breaks the bad news about Harry Stinson's Hamilton Grand project at Main and John.

Funding for the project fell apart after a group of Toronto investors backed out when the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) launched an investigation into their investment club, Tulsiani Investments. The investment club founder, Sunil Tulsiani, is alleged to have violated Ontario securities law by trading in securities without a licence.

Another blow was the death earlier this year of Hamilton Grand partner and financial advisor Gary Bateman. Dreschel quotes Stinson saying, "If Gary was still alive, we would have carried on. Gary was an enormous factor in the project. He gave investors comfort."

All the deposits from investors, which were held in trust, have been refunded.

Stinson has turned his attention to his planned renovation of Stinson School, which he bought eariler this year, into condos.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 26, 2009 at 12:44:28

tough break for Harry. Things looked great for that project until the TO investment firm came under scrutiny. Nontheless, I'm pleased to hear that he owns the land and not some local like the dude who owns the Regal Hotel at King and Bay and is 'waiting for an NHL team to come to Hamilton'. Lol.
Hamilton's slumlords get great press regularly from Dreschel. It's no wonder he can't figure out Stinson. The guy actually wants to build something, instead of letting downtown Hamilton rot like too many long-time building slumlords.

Let's hope he can do Stinson School. It looks like a great project.

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted August 26, 2009 at 13:00:22

sigh :(

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By Jelly (anonymous) | Posted August 26, 2009 at 16:02:44

I dunno Jason, at least the honest lawyer folks are going ahead with a development, right? I still think Stinson has to get a project completed in Hamilton to garner the kind of respect you afford him. Maybe we've put too much stock in this guy?

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By Youuuuu're OUT! (anonymous) | Posted August 26, 2009 at 16:41:56

Stinson has proven to be yet another typical Hamilton developer.
FLASHY DETAILS -- NEWS CONFERENCES -- HYPE HYPE HYPE -- Nothing.

Can we run him outta town just like Toronto did?

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By Hamiltonian (registered) | Posted August 26, 2009 at 16:54:11

Jason,

Your manlove for Stinson is pathetic. The guy gets alot of press, hasn't done a thing, but has your unwavering support. Maybe downtown projects aren't as easy as you think. How about pouring some of the weekly offerings into something instead of bashing those that actually invest in the core and praising those that just talk about it.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted August 26, 2009 at 17:43:32

Jelly; how about if he actually gets a project STARTED!

I had tons of faith in this guy when he came to town years ago to save the Connaught.

I had faith in him in the Hamilton Grand, once he abandoned his Connaught plans.

Now, I have ZERO faith in his Stinson Lofts!

I don't know about anyone else, but THIS Hamiltonian is sick of getting f'd around (ie: NHL, Main/Caroline Federal Building, Maybe-Maybe-Not LRT, and the list just goes on...)

I will no longer support him; no longer defend him from critics; no longer advertise his projects via word-of-mouth.

You had your chance and you blew it, Harry! Hamilton doesn't need another 'What If' developer! But Thanks for the Effort...

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 26, 2009 at 18:16:04

Manlove?? haha.

Hamiltonian, I'm merely stating the fact that the investment company involved ended up in trouble. It's not like Harry pulled the run out from under them. If you can't see that, you're not paying attention.

I've been very clear on my position with Harry - all the renderings and press releases are nice, but let's see some CONSTRUCTION already. Hopefully the Stinson school project will be it.

Jelly, my reference to the King/Bay restaurant was directed at the local Hamilton dude who owns the building. Sorry for the confusion. The folks from Honest Lawyer who are building the project deserve massive kudos for their work and are actually doing some construction/renovation downtown, especially along barren empty streets like King and Bay that seriously need the help. The Honest Lawyer has done wonders for a crummy stretch of King, and this new restaurant will do the same for a crummy stretch of Bay.

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By Hairy (anonymous) | Posted August 26, 2009 at 19:42:17

What a loser.

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By Robert_D (anonymous) | Posted August 26, 2009 at 22:13:55

I'm really sad to hear the project isn't going through. It's another tough break for Stinson, who is, I think we can all admit, a man with grand visions at the very least.

I still think he's better than Vrancor...

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 26, 2009 at 23:20:52

Harry exemplifies the triumph of hope over experience. Notwithstanding his uneven track record, there's something, well, embiggening about his tireless resolve. He gets a pass from me if only because he keeps trying, damn it, when too many other Hamilton property owners are content to squat on their own land until someone else comes along and makes it valuable for them.

In a city that's too often a victim of its own dashed expectations, it's refreshing to see someone dream big for a change. On the other hand, it makes his failures that much more painful to watch - and it practically invites the schadenfreude of those hard-hearted squelchers who just can't wait for his projects to "go belly up".

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 27, 2009 at 08:17:23

I'd much rather watch his failures instead of watching the careless slumlords sit around waiting for someone else to fix up the place while their buildings rot. Stinson will end up building something one of these times and we can be guaranteed that it won't be a suburban-box pile of junk with a massive parking lot on Main or King. His urban vision and desire for a vibrant downtown is shared by me and I hope he can pull off the Stinson school before coming back downtown.

Harry - PLEASE don't sell the Shell lot to a local speculator. They have ruined our city!!!

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted August 27, 2009 at 11:15:08

Of all the failures, this one is the least his fault and leaves his hands the cleanest. (compared to some Toronto projects).

Nevertheless, he's still a person who has had success elsewhere, and if he dreams too big for Hamilton, here's hoping one day the city will catch up.

I agree - one of these times, something great will get built, and I definitely don't think it's all that damaging for thousands of people to hear what could be. Some of that's gotta get a little contagious :)

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 27, 2009 at 12:47:14

yea, I don't get the naysayers who accuse us of having a 'manlove' for the guy simply because we like his vision. If nothing ever gets built, oh well. At least we're getting some cool visions and ideas from him that would make Hamilton a better place. How is that bad??

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By Marmalade (anonymous) | Posted August 27, 2009 at 18:37:37

I dunno. My bet is in a year or so we'll be reading an article with the same headline, minus the words "Grand Plan". ;)

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 27, 2009 at 19:10:56

possibly. It's better than reading an article in a year about the Connaught with the words "still no plan, and still a dump".

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 27, 2009 at 20:10:06

Toronto has a residential tax rate of .855%, Hamilton's is 1.59%. Therefore, for every $25 million in new assessment that Hamilton is looking for, it charges people $397,500 in property taxes. In Toronto, for every $25 million in new assessment, they charge only $213,750 in taxes.

If two cities are fighting over the next $25 million dollar residential investment, who do you think has the best chance, the one who want 398K in taxes, or the one who only asks for 214K?

If tax rates can't be lowered on all properties overnight, why not at least charge NEW downtown residential developments what Toronto does, 0.855%. This won't hurt existing revenues, but it will put Hamilton on a level playing field with booming Toronto when it comes to new investments.

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By Chris Angel (registered) | Posted August 27, 2009 at 20:24:52

Harry Stinson looks like he wanted to make his mark in Hamilton with an inspiring redevelopement statement. He at least put his money where his mouth was and gave it all he had. Major projects like this require numerous investors and take the project out of the hands of any one person. It didn't fly. Not his fault, but it is not going to happen for now. I am sure Harry has an accurate perception of what the public thinks of him. It may be coincidence but this may have motivated him to tackle an ambitious project but one on a scale that puts him totally in control. Or he could just be fed up with the uncertainty of joint ventures and seeking something he could break ground on. Either way or most likely a bit of both I am betting the Stinson School project will be completed. I hope it proves to Hamiltonians and Harry himself that sometimes a project does not have to have massive scale to be inspiring. That is a marvellous old building that could be a centerpiece showcasing the best in redevelopement. If he sets the bar that high.

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By anon (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2009 at 16:36:02

pul-leaze.

the only reason harry dreams big is because its not his money. the bigger the budget it is, the bigger a project management fee he gets. he doesnt have any of his own money into any of these projects. why do u think his only avenue of financing that grand was from a dodgy'real estate investment club'? his name is mud and no one reputable w deal with him.

do u actually think stinson didnt know what tulsiani was doing? he was the probably the one that gave him the idea. try watching some of harry's old infomercials on tv about 1 king west and his sapphire tower. he hocked a guaranteed rate of return for investors. ergo, this falls under OSC regulatiosn because of this. he was already investigated by the OSC at that time.

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By anon (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2009 at 16:42:38


classic harry

www.thestar.com/article/153982

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By Harry yes, Hamilton no (anonymous) | Posted January 15, 2010 at 00:53:59

Can someone please feed this guy a proper meal. He's so sickly looking, poor sap.

279K is pretty affordable for a penthouse...that's a Hamilton crackdealer's week's worth of work.

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By woody10 (registered) | Posted January 15, 2010 at 09:36:44

It's unfortunate about Mr. stinson. I do hope some more of his projects come about because although a bit over the top, at least he's promoting Hamilton in a round about way.

And "Harry Yes" Why a Hamilton Crack dealer? Isn't there enough bashing of Hamilton? You pick a very small portion of an small percentage of people from the city, why?? Go live in Toronto where the "Toronto Crack Dealers" are far more abundant but they're hidden amongst the street kids, squeegee kids, homesless, beggers, etc. that walk the downtown streets of Toronto every day. Sorry Toronto, but I did live there for years and saw it every day. Hamilton is a far safer place to live, a better place to raise a family and a lot cheaper. Sorry, I'm ranting again.

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