News

New Companies And New Developments Downtown

By Adrian Duyzer
Published May 13, 2011

There were some great announcements about downtown at yesterday's Hamilton Economic Summit.

Two animation companies from Toronto are moving here. Chuck Gammage Animation, with ten employees, is moving to James Street North into the building at the intersection of James and Cannon.

Pipeline Studios is moving into the recently renovated brick building at the corner of Main Street West and Queen Street, bringing an impressive 100 employees into Hamilton.

Pipeline's Juan Lopez referenced the proximity of Hess Village as being a benefit to his employees. This also gives us an excellent opportunity to look at improving walkability between this area and Locke Street, as Main West currently does a poor job in this regard.

The arrival of two animation studios is great for Hamilton. It also demonstrates the effect that tax policies can have on urban renewal, since these companies will receive a tax break for animation work that is performed outside Toronto.

Southern Ontario College, a private high school that issues diplomas to internationally-born students, has moved to Rebecca Street from their previous location on Dundurn, near Dundurn Castle.

Triangle Development Inc. is turning the building that formerly housed the Crazy Horse Saloon on John Street into luxury office space. The building will feature a fitness centre and bicycle parking. This is a great example of urban renewal right in the core.

Amed Dirani, the owner of Select Video, is revitalizing an office building on Wellington Street North and turning it into condos. He said he's had no trouble selling condo units and wondered why more people aren't doing it.

All told, some great news for the core!

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

27 Comments

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By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 08:46:03

Countdown to "Hess Village Just Got More Cartoonish" headline. ;) Hopefully that raises the bar for dining options along King West. As it stands, Hess is just the western terminus of the ward's shwarma precinct.

BTW, I had gathered that Gammage was going in at James and Vine:

http://twitter.com/#!/meredithmacleod/status/68737090497679361

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By LoveIt (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 08:57:06

Cheers !
http://www.donrcampbell.com/top-ontario-investment-towns-named-for-2011-and-beyond-hamilton-ranks-1

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 09:00:32

great news. Now we need a really cool retail store or dining option on the ground floor of the Dominion Furniture Building.

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By TnT (registered) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 09:02:15

Fantastic news. You know I bet some residential backpackers hostels would be beneficial to the students and young professionals.

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By Mogadon Meglodon (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 09:06:25

Glad that someone's tackling the Crazy Horse, but office space is not something I would have thought underserved. I guess the "luxury" aspect is what differentiates it. Guessing that this will be Lister-grade office space, and if so it makes sense to have it right next to the Sopinka – they've been trying to push this very outcome for years now (eg. the sign describing it as the Jury Box or whatever).

Western downtown has historically been much more attractive for private investment. Even fast-food outlets and nightclubs shuffled further east over the decades (eg. McDonalds moving into the west end of Jackson Square from King and John in the late 80s, Fever closing as the owners' holdings in Hess Village proved infinitely more lucrative). This investment dynamic is partly why the Century 21 building was handicapped as a commercial foothold – the professionals vamoosed en masse not long after it was completed – the Spec, for instance, moved to Frid Street within a couple of years of the building's opening.

Hopefully that old investment logic is being challenged in ways that would see the core bloom again, and that these moves inspire more private investment and create good-paying private sector jobs. Those density targets aren't going to get crushed by themselves.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 09:10:55 in reply to Comment 63472

"I am also pleased to announce another big piece of news: we have named Hamilton as the #1 city for investment in Ontario for 2011-2015.... For those of you may not be familiar yet, I’m also doing an ongoing series on BNN titled What Will $300,000 Buy Me in Canada?”

Am I the only one who worries that we could potentially be looking at a four-year intensification of land speculators and out-of-town landlords?

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By LoveIt (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 09:39:49 in reply to Comment 63477

Enjoy #1.
There always been out-of-DOWNtown landlords here.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 09:40:32

More great news for Hamilton. I think that many people are starting to discover what we have in this city and a real buzz is starting to take hold.

I haven't heard much about the Weelington N condo development. Can anyone pass along more info?

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:02:50 in reply to Comment 63478

True. And at least Hamilton Strip isn't a vacant building.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:05:34 in reply to Comment 63481

Er, my bad... meant Show World.

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By LoveIt (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:10:30 in reply to Comment 63481

Ok, just invest and do this city better, as others already do.

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By LoveIt (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:15:55 in reply to Comment 63482

NP, I have to be back to renovating my DT houses. By permits, BTW.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:17:49 in reply to Comment 63479

Can't find it online, but there's word in today's Spec, page A19:

"Hamilton video store owner Amed Dirani is the force behind the revival of a vacant office building on Wellington Street North into 10 condo units and an office. It's his first multi-unit project after years of buying and renovating houses. Capital for the project came from the several video stores he had franchised."

There's also a rendering of "Royal Court" at 21 John (aka the former Crazy Horse Saloon):

"Triangle Development Inc is tackling a derelict bar behind a derelict hotel ["Stop it – you're making me blush!" – Downtown] on John Street and turning it into a five-storey office building featuring a rooftop lounge, private fitness contre and bicycle parking – all located steps from the John Sopinka Court House."

Another project mentioned:

"Hamilton-based Blair Blanchard Stapleton is renting 8,000 square feet of a building at 700 Main Street W. [ie. opposite Westdale Secondary] to Kids and Co., a national chain of daycare centres for a facility designed for 90 children and 15 staff."

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:27:24 in reply to Comment 63483

Easy, there, boss. My trifling concerns aren't going to devalue your investment.

I'm not saying that investment is bad (and obviously Hamiltonians aren't able to rescue the city on their own), simply that property speculation has not been especially rosy for downtown Hamilton over the last 30 or so years, and that one potential upshot of this nation-wide call-outs to real estate investors could simply be that we go from one generation of property speculators with dormant properties to another?

That's all. Two cents from a downtown lifer.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:31:27

Holy crap, Pipeline is moving to Hamilton? That's awesome. Although their website has a terrible mystery-meat navigation.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:32:42 in reply to Comment 63488

"Mystery-meat navigation" is my new favourite phrase.

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By Vod_Kann (registered) | Posted May 13, 2011 at 17:46:09

Here come the inevitable negative letters to the editor from the spec

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/letters/a...

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/letters/a...

I love the "how dare you write something positive about our city!" attitudes. Certainly Hamilton does have challenges ahead of it but lets at least acknowledge that things are pointed in the right direction. Even Bill Kelly (with nobody "calling in") was pleasantly positive about the direction of the city when broadcasting from the summit!

Seriously though- Can the Spec not find find some "fact-based" rebuttals? For instance, one letter talks abour Hamilton "bad roads" yet Hamilton has one road on the CAA's worst roads list and three on their best roads? Then to generalize that people without cars "must be poor" tops it off.

Most Manhattanites don't drive or own cars- are they poor?

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By Demitasse (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 11:09:58 in reply to Comment 63478

Truth. Montrealers, for example.

"Jackson Square is owned by three joint-venture companies, each owned by Yale Properties Limited and The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada. The companies were formed in the 1970s and the 1980s to develop and acquire real estate in Canada and currently own over four million square feet of property in Calgary, Toronto and Hamilton."

http://www.yalecanada.com/Jackson_Square.html

Q: Would you want to sign another 99-year lease with them when it comes up in 2070?

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 14:21:24 in reply to Comment 63508

ugh, 2070. that's the earliest we can get out of the deal?? Imagine how cool a 1970's looking mall will be by then? It'll probably be designated a national heritage site.

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By SuperTech2094 (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 15:44:48

Isn't this just the most productive thing you've ever seen. Why does the article speak of a fund from someone named Glen Norton? Is this grant available to anyone investing in downtown or just giant investments? Does the money go to Starbucks, or can an independent bike shop, coffee shop, backpackers hostel, locksmith, art shop etc qualify?

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By BobInnes (registered) - website | Posted May 14, 2011 at 17:05:10

Supertech - do you have a link to that article? I'd like to learn more about the whole subsidy thing - how transparent/ ad hoc/ long lived/ balanced it is. It used to be called bonusing and was against the rules because of potential abuse but I guess in the race to the tax bottom, society's safeguards are constantly being taken away. So although it's nice to see Hamilton taking advantage of any break, I'd rather see a general lowering of commercial taxes from the present 6% approx, in all areas, not just downtown. But the more tax breaks are given, the harder it will be to make a general reduction, especially given the large number of gov't properties in the area. Thoughts?

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By TnT (registered) | Posted May 15, 2011 at 00:19:20

Hi SuperTeck, I could only find this link in the spec: http://www.thespec.com/news/article/6220...

Sounds like he understands things as one of the partners in Hotel Hamilton.

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By BobInnes (registered) - website | Posted May 16, 2011 at 01:06:10 in reply to Comment 63537

Thanks for the link TNT. It confirmed my worst fears about the dangers of bonusing.

Moodie is also awaiting trial on charges of taking a kickback from a local developer.

One has to hope Norton is a saint but the rule was devised to avoid the need for saints, although dealing with developers seems always to be a slippery business.

It's easy to see the need to revitalize a city's core (and special areas that can support a BIA). Can anyone help me understand how areas outside the core or BIAs can ever get going if they must first subsidize those inside the special areas (thru general taxes)? This being the case, is fixing the core self defeating because folks must first travel through derelict areas to get there?

Am I completely off base by suggesting that general tax relief would be better than efforts focusing on small areas???

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By TnT (registered) | Posted May 16, 2011 at 09:10:44

I agree. There is something unfair about it (read about our backpackers shutting down http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/2146/...'s_only_backpacker_hostel_shut_down. It is a worry being outside a special zone. I am still s fan of repairing the core: trickle out economics?

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:38:56 in reply to Comment 63555

Downtown Incentive Programs - http://www.investinhamilton.ca/financial...

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By Principal (anonymous) | Posted May 16, 2011 at 21:42:47

Great News for Downtown???????????
The School Board headquarters are being moved to the mountain !
Death knell for downtown.
Watch other head offices move out, without a whimper from anyone.

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By Art Grant (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:59:34

"The Ontario Film & Television Tax Credit is generally calculated as 35% of the eligible Ontario labour expenditures incurred by a qualifying production company with respect to an eligible Ontario production. An enhanced credit rate of 40% on the first $240,000 of qualifying labour expenditure is available for first time producers. Productions that are shot in Ontario entirely outside of the Greater Toronto Area (“GTA”) or that have at least five location days in Ontario (or in the case of a television series, the number of location days is at least equal to the number of episodes), and at least 85% of the location days in Ontario are outside the GTA, receive a 10% bonus on all Ontario labour expenditures incurred for the production. Wholly animated productions which perform at least 85% of key animation in Ontario outside of the GTA qualify for the regional bonus."

http://www.omdc.on.ca/Page3399.aspx

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