Revitalization

Possible Redevelopment of 220 Dundurn South

By Ryan McGreal
Published October 30, 2012

The office of Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie has issued an update on the vacant property at 220 Dundurn Street South.

220 Dundurn Street South (RTH file photo)
220 Dundurn Street South (RTH file photo)

The owner, Denis Vranich, approached the City in August 2012 under the City's Formal Consultation Process to discuss a proposal to convert the building into multi-residential luxury rental apartments with one or two added storeys, a use that is allowed under the building's current zoning with some variances.

The proposal still needs to go through a Site Plan application, followed by a building permit application. However, a demolition permit has already been issued to remove some smaller buildings from the rear of the site, and to remove the roof so that additional storeys can be added.

Councillor McHattie has asked Vranich to hold a public meeting to present his plan for the building, but a date has not been set.

Vacant and Derelict

The property, which sits at the southwest corner of Dundurn and Chatham across from the Dundurn Beer Store, started life as a National Hosiery silk stocking factory, but has been vacant and derelict for years. It has been subject to numerous fires and has at times been occupied by vagrants.

Vranich has occasionally proposed adaptive reuses for the building, including a seniors centre in March 2009, but so far nothing has come of it.

According to an October 2007 Spectator article, Vranich bought the property in January 2007 for $1.5 million from a numbered company in Thornhill.

He is the fifth owner since 1998, when Dundurn Street Loffts Inc planned to turn the building into loft apartments. Despite strong sales - over 50 of the 64 planned units sold - that plan fell apart after years of delays. The developer, Adam J Stelmaszynski, was convicted in 2004 of GST fraud.

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 Sara (registered) | Posted October 30, 2012 at 14:59:35

Interesting that he is planning rental units. That is extremely rare in today's Ontario development world. Many condo buildings become mostly rental units as investors buy units to rent and not for living in themselves. But it's rare for a building to be specified as rental from the outset - unless it's built as geared to students or built with affordable housing grant from the government. I'm guessing that part of the plan will change. Is Vranich proposing that his company would be the landlord? I'm not complaining, the Kirkendall neighbourhood needs more rental units, I am just surprised.

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By John Merriman (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2012 at 17:45:50 in reply to Comment 82429

London's core is full of new rental highrises. I always wondered why that was because as you say in Hamilton, a new rental building is an endangered species. I suspect it has something to do with the way the buildings are taxed.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 30, 2012 at 20:32:24 in reply to Comment 82432

ditto for Burlington...a whole ton of new rental towers has been built over there in recent years, especially in Aldershot. I think one of the huge drawbacks in Hamilton is that a handful of residents, and therefore almost everyone at city hall, freaks out if a building is proposed to be taller than 2.5 stories. Tiny, little Aldershot is developing quite a skyline of rental buildings that would be run out downtown Hamilton at the first public meeting. Rental buildings typically need some density to make them more affordable from what I understand. Sad that small cities like London and Burlington allow construction of such projects, but here in a city that used to think itself a rival to Toronto we think 20 stories is 120 and chase development away all the time.

One other point I've been told to by developer friends is that rents need to be quite high in order to finance the construction of the massive amount of parking demanded by the city's antiquated zoning bylaws. Average rents would work in a building with less, or limited parking, but in Hamilton the development of parking trumps all else, and therefore makes new rental projects unprofitable for developers.

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By Sean Roberts (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2012 at 16:55:13

I'm still waiting on one of those $139,000 penthouses that they were advertising for fifteen years...

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By rednic (registered) | Posted October 30, 2012 at 17:26:18 in reply to Comment 82430

could be worse you could have put a deposit down for unit at Stinson St. school

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By Hipgnosis (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2012 at 19:25:13

Ryan, is it confirmed that Denis owns the building? I am sure that about 2 years ago I received a communication from Brian that Denis had divested himself of the property.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 30, 2012 at 21:29:40 in reply to Comment 82438

Yes. I confirmed with Councillor McHattie today.

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By v (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2012 at 20:48:06 in reply to Comment 82438

yeah there was something about a Coletera group trying to get it developed

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted October 30, 2012 at 21:31:32

Good to hear, hope it happens.

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted October 30, 2012 at 21:37:40

so a demo permit has been issued for the roof ahead of anything else concrete? well peel the top off already and let nature take its course...

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By skeptic (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2012 at 23:00:23 in reply to Comment 82443

Step one: demolish
Step two: ?
Step three: PROFIT

Someone's been reading from the Book of Blanchard

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted November 03, 2012 at 14:49:56

This building is in a great neighbourhood. Demand to live there should be strong. But I will believe it when I see it.

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By Frankenrogers (registered) | Posted November 06, 2012 at 10:35:52

Yeah, I have no idea why this would take so long. Awesome spot in the trendiest part of town and he can't get it together? I was at a Kirkendall Neighbourhood meeting a year and a half ago and McHattie mentioned then that he saw the developer (or the architect) on the street and was told that he could expect an announcement soon. Would love to see it developed but not counting on it any time soon.

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By pauldavidson (registered) | Posted April 29, 2015 at 11:02:57

Just in case anyone need to fill out a Building Permit Application form, I found a blank form in this link http://pdf.ac/6LJ9O. This site PDFfiller also has several related forms that you might find useful.

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