Revitalization

18-28 King Street East in the Globe and Mail

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 05, 2013

A timely and informative article by Adrian Morrow in today's Globe and Mail reports on the controversy over Wilson-Blanchard's plan to demolish 18-28 King Street East, the historic Victorian streetwall fronting Gore Park that includes an 1840 building designed by William Thomas.

The article sketches the history of postwar demolitions in downtown Hamilton, pitting the developer, who claims the buildings cannot affordably be restored, against heritage advocates who note that developers always say that when they want to demolish old buildings.

It's easy to see why some Hamiltonians are wary of block-altering developments. Over the decades, swaths of the core have been torn down to make way for inward-facing malls and a fortress-like convention centre that do little to liven up the streets. Other buildings were razed to make way for parking lots, leaving vast, empty spaces in the cityscape.

According to the article, David Blanchard is "open to discussions about preservation" but skeptical:

"There are all kinds of people running around,... trying to tell us what to do," he says. "We'll talk to them. I don't know what good it's going to do and I don't know who's going to pay for it, but we'll talk to them."

Blanchard also insists his plans are only preliminary, which, as the article notes, "is part of the problem:

He is moving to get rid of the buildings without a plan for what will replace them.

Shameless plug: the article also includes a couple of quotes from your humble RTH editor.

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. Several of his essays have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. Ryan also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on twitter.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 05, 2013 at 13:38:45

it's actually King East FWIW.

Well, that article right there gives WAY more actual info than any Spec piece I've read. The Spec keeps talking about Blanchards plans as if they are about to erect a crane. A few coloured boxes were released while he and his partner argued over what, if anything, will ever get built there.

Glad to see a larger media organization give proper context to the story.

Check out the comment section under the article as well. Wow. It's like a different world compared to the comments we see locally.

Comment edited by jason on 2013-01-05 13:40:51

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 05, 2013 at 13:44:00

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted January 06, 2013 at 00:06:01

When one is negotiating, they tend to start on a "less optimistic" note.

Comment edited by ScreamingViking on 2013-01-06 00:06:17

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By erskinec (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2013 at 09:50:38

When I was a kid, City Council had this great idea of cutting down the grand old trees in Gore Park and paving over the grass. They wanted to let in the sun and remove the mud. They had good intentions but what they created was a cold concrete parking lot for pigeons. The people never forgot nor forgave that Council. I think alot of them lost their seats in the following election. It appears to me that history is about to repeat itself. I hope the readers of this blog and the related articles are spreading the word on their Facebook, Twitter, Blog and websites. Furthermore, I hope they are emailing City Council and demanding that they say no to demolition.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2013 at 11:34:48

It is incredibly easy to sit in an other city and cry over the proposed destruction of old buildings. Especially when you know absolutely nothing about these buildings. As far as I know no one has done any kind of inspection however rudimentary into the state of these buildings. Instead they dismiss the owners contention that the amount of money needed to repair them is beyond the value of the buildings. How would they know? Obviously they don't and simply want to argue the sentiment and emotions of the issue and stay well clear of the facts. I have had some limited experience with century buildings and if someone tells me the foundation is crumbling I have no trouble believing them. In fact I would be somewhat surprised if they told me otherwise. A hundred or hundred and fifty years ago the mortar and cement were at a much lower standard then they are today. Some buildings were built with superior trades people but too many were built with average tradespeople and cheap labour to get the job done as quickly and cheaply as possible. Much like today.

I like to look at a person's record or history before I come to conclusions about their motives and likely future actions. Wilson Blanchard's history of restoring a very large old building right here in Hamilton gives them a little credibility in my mind.

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By Dane (registered) | Posted January 07, 2013 at 23:27:38 in reply to Comment 84751

Wait what? I didn't realize Blanchard was a structural engineer? So what your saying is that no one has determine the building are bad so they are in bad shape. Me so confused.

Listen many people have restored 100 year old buildings. I have been through many. Some structurally unsound. Some things I have noticed; its doesn't take much to fix and two usually there would be some exterior signs or indicators of damage. But in anticipation, I am not a structural engineer. You know though, this would be settled quite quickly if an impartial engineer was sent through. Makes you wonder why Blanchard hasn't shut folks up with that one.

Speaking of record, what buildings did Blanchard directly take part in the restoration?

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2013 at 22:11:05 in reply to Comment 84751

I'd like you to click on the link below, and see what medieval buildings in Italy look like.

https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=pordenone+italy&ll=45.955148,12.659898&spn=0.024555,0.038581&hnear=Pordenone,+Province+of+Pordenone,+Friuli-Venezia+Giulia,+Italy&gl=ca&t=m&z=15&layer=c&cbll=45.955256,12.659883&panoid=n4mDCBD7wtUqPICqY8lMtQ&cbp=12,176.81,,0,-1.48

These were not built with "hard portland".

If you go down (or turn around and go up) that street, you'll see building after building, all similar scale, all right up to the street. No one "tore down" one or two and built something "better". No one complains that they're unsafe, or the spaces aren't large enough to accommodate a grocery store. No one is proposing to tear down half a block of them and build a condo tower.

They're standing the test of time just fine, virtually each and every one has a business in it, and people living above. Some even have cafes that spill out onto the street *gasp*.

Gore park is a three block stretch of our downtown that should be preserved, in a similar manner to the link I've posted, so that future generations can come and marvel at those delightful "old buildings".

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2013 at 01:19:33 in reply to Comment 84764

Your are entitled to your opinion. I am entitled to mine even though it is diametrically opposed to yours.

I don't think they are standing the test of time. If the foundations are crumbling then there obvious problems.

Something had to be torn down to build the Erin Fairclough Buiding, AGH, CIBC Tower, the tower at King and Catherine,whatever it is called and more. Those are just what comes to mind in a minute and they are all up or down the street. I suspect that very similar buildings that are presently at 18 - 28 King were indeed torn down to make room for these buildings.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2013 at 05:41:04 in reply to Comment 84764

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 11, 2013 at 09:14:09 in reply to Comment 84770

FYI, plenty of empty building lots in Italy in this city of 50,000 people. The city is thoroughly modern if you go further out, this is their historic "core" complete with their old city hall.

Here's a link to some of the more modern buildings in that same city:

https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=45.962606,12.65522&hl=en&ll=46.011151,12.657623&spn=0.000238,0.154324&sll=45.962606,12.65522&sspn=0.097609,0.154324&gl=ca&hnear=Pordenone,+Province+of+Pordenone,+Friuli-Venezia+Giulia,+Italy&t=m&z=13&layer=c&cbll=45.962391,12.656568&panoid=Veaq_A91zzhA8hcL85huqg&cbp=12,145.01,,0,-15.62


By the way, as for your "crane" it was doing restoration work, here you see it close up, and it's clearly not on any "building" lot:

https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=pordenone+italy&ll=45.954436,12.660585&spn=0.001533,0.002411&hnear=Pordenone,+Province+of+Pordenone,+Friuli-Venezia+Giulia,+Italy&gl=ca&t=m&layer=c&cbll=45.954436,12.660585&panoid=z3BQN3fLxaK8B5ZME8S15g&cbp=12,79.44,,0,-22.68&z=19

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2013 at 05:28:13 in reply to Comment 84764

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2013 at 07:10:51 in reply to Comment 84767

Larry Out Loud states;

"It would be interesting to know what lays below the surface of the scene you provided. I wonder if like so many cities there, it is built on the ruins of an older settlement."

Okay let's knock them down and find out. (LOL)

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 07, 2013 at 07:58:58 in reply to Comment 84767

"Reality" TV as "evidence"? You've reached a new level.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2013 at 01:11:00 in reply to Comment 84772

From the comments I see here it is pretty obvious that many have no idea what housing is like in Europe. I know I was surprised when I went for a visit. I find the show pretty interesting. If you have a problem with it watch something else. The reactions that I have seen on the show pretty much mirror what mine were when I went there. Maybe you are used to a bar size fridge as the main fridge in the apartment but I certainly was. We had relatives visit for a few weeks last year and were amazed by the size, price and availability of single family homes in our fair city. They certainly had never seen anything like it.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 09, 2013 at 09:31:25 in reply to Comment 84905

I find the show pretty interesting. If you have a problem with it watch something else.

If you have a problem with meaningful fact-based dialog, go somewhere else.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted January 08, 2013 at 09:50:18 in reply to Comment 84772

The anecdote he provides of the "American kitchen" is perfectly legitimate. He never said it was "evidence" of anything.

You certainly do have a knack for condesending obfuscation.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2013 at 10:07:03 in reply to Comment 84814

I did not obfuscate this issue with comparisons to ancient civilizations buried in Europe. We are not building a new civilization on top of those Gore buildings. Blanchard himself has admitted there is no actual redevelopment plan.

Demolition and new construction is not some sort of natural order. It does happen, particularly in places where there's no space to build without demolition. But we have lots of space to build here without tearing anything more down.

My posts are based on facts that I've researched and referenced where possible and necessary. Pardon me if I refuse to accept anecdotes based on television shows as reasonable points for further discussion.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2013 at 01:22:19 in reply to Comment 84818

So you want to keep the core as is, have I got that right? So no more whining about intensification there. And no more whining about greenfield development.

You just can't have your cake and eat it too.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 09, 2013 at 09:29:23 in reply to Comment 84907

Comprehension fail.

I have repeatedly said we need to intensify both through renovation of existing buildings and creating incentives for construction on our parking lots. Tearing down buildings is simply not necessary here. We've already done that. A lot.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2013 at 14:42:43 in reply to Comment 84751

Same old tired twisted logic Larry Out Loud.

"A hundred or hundred and fifty years ago the mortar and cement were at a much lower standard then they are today"

Yeah like Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Il Duomo,
the Vatican for that matter, the Great wall of China, the Taj Mahal, The Prado et....

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2013 at 05:36:31 in reply to Comment 84755

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2013 at 00:43:17 in reply to Comment 84768

LOLAOA:

"If you can arrange for those kind of resources to be provided for 24-28 King East then I think we can and should save them. To ask the owners to take on the task by themselves is a bit far fetched."

First off all, the Tower of Pisa is leaning, and Blanchard's buildings are NOT.

Secondly:

"The city has never demanded a historical restoration job on these facades. The condition of his building's facades only call for routine maintenance and upgrades to the cornices, eavestroughs & drains, possibly new windows and such, and possible upgrades to the store signs if required. All of which is clearly covered in the city incentive program."

The interiors may require stripping of lathe-plaster and sandblasting the bricks, and sanding and polishing the floors. It may or may not require new services, washrooms and kitchen based on how badly Blanchard has let these buildings go, and whether he is interested at all in converting them to live/work lofts for which there are city loans and a great demand for rentals.

If designed well, he could get around 20 units into these buildings, and still keep the rear area above for a boutique hotel of around 60-80 rooms while retaining 5 commercial storefronts and building two very tall high-rise buildings on the vacant lots at rear, facing James and Main.

The main floors and some upper floors have/or had tenants in the very recent past. So, they are not as run down in condition as being claimed. I remember visiting Premi's office with a friend this summer, and it looked like it was in decent shape. (Also, see interview of Premi in the Spectator from a few years back, when he moved into that office--and read his quotes there).

So, what kind of resources are you really talking off here LOLAOA?

Are you saying Blanchard cannot afford these simple renovation expenses to keep his buildings going?

If I were thinking of tearing down some buildings, I'd hate to hire you as my consultant, LOLAOA, You seem to make a mess of all arguments you raise in favour of this demolition!

"To ask the owners to take on the task by themselves is a bit far fetched."

Isn't that what developers exactly do? If not, they are simply not developers.

And aren't you being a bit presumptuous here LOL?

Before I found out that there were no plans--except to demolish these buildings, I did email David Blanchard on hearing of his venture.

The fact remains that he has refused to acknowledge my message to him--even with a canned courtesy response. This, is so Hamilton!!

When I wrote to him, I had no reasons to doubt his undertaking, and it was an earnest reach-out on my part although knowing fully well that he does not possess the skills required to undertake such a project.

Having money and possibly pots of it, and even a helping hand from the media which is eager to give a free ride, is no guarantee of turning over a successful development project in a peculiar market such as Hamilton.

I do not know of any real developer/businessman in this world who is not curious to find out what someone has to offer, especially when their project is conceived on such a thin foundation of logic.

Like I said earlier, a Realtor and owner of properties, and a developer are two very distinct mind sets.

If he does decide to get off his high horse and chooses to respond to my email, maybe something wondrous may result--beyond his wildest expectations.

Being the consummate consultant that you are, I am sure, you will see that he gets this message from three months ago, just in case it has not reached him yet:

On Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 3:54 PM, Mahesh P. Butani, wrote:

David H. Blanchard, B.A., FRI., CPM., ACCI., CCIM, SIOR, President/Broker -- Email: wbm@wbmgnt.com

Hello David,

With reference to the news article: http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/talk/story/2012/10/22/hamilton-king-condos.html my congratulations to you on the plans!

I would like to meet up with you to discuss some ideas that may help brand, promote and market this development successfully - given the historic component and the possibly hurdles.

There is also a great opportunity to pre-market this project in South Asia too.

Kindly let me know if you would be interested in meeting up for an hour or so over coffee in downtown soon.

Best Regards, Mahesh

PS: also see this very interesting 3d presentation below:


Mahesh P. Butani

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2013-01-08 00:59:10

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2013 at 01:53:44 in reply to Comment 84790

By your comments I am to assume that you KNOW more about these buildings than the owners do. That you KNOW the foundations are sound. That you KNOW the floors aren't sagging. That you KNOW the basic services electric, HVAC and plumbing are just dandy.

Have you ever owned a century building? Have you ever worked on a century building? Do you KNOW anything about century buildings? By the way you write about them I bet the answer to all is a resounding no.

I have owned and worked on century buildings. The costs are huge. The plumbing in these old buildings is in all likelihood reaching the end of its life-cycle unless it has been replaced in near past. Ditto for the electrical which was not original and was added later and may very well have been added to at least once and yet today is likely to be totally inadequate. I doubt that these buildings have AC throughout. In order to make them desirable in this day and age they need to have AC. That is just a start there are so many issues with these old buildings that the price to restore them quickly becomes prohibitive and that is why they get torn down and replaced. If you disagree with the owners then why not step up to the plate and fork over some money and buy them from Blanchard and then you can do with them what you think is right.

Rents in the core especially in this type of old building are very low. People just don't want to live in the core. People live there because they cannot live in nicer better places. Lets make the core better and nicer then people will want to live there and finally the city will turn the corner and stop being supported by the burbs.

How many properties have you branded? Or promoted? Or marketed? I am dieing to find out. In order to think that you can give advice in this area to man who has built up a sizable business doing exactly that then your answer must be truly impressive otherwise your offer is just pretentious.

I suspect but do not know that actually you have done none of the above. I suspect but do not know that what you are really good at is spending other peoples money because you cannot spend your own to do the same kind of project.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 10, 2013 at 14:17:46 in reply to Comment 84909

LOL-aoa:

Yes, sorry, but I KNOW more about these buildings than the owners do. Yes, I KNOW the foundations are sound - from my visit to these buildings, and I do KNOW that the floors I visited on, were not sagging, and that the services (electric, HVAC and plumbing), on these floors were good, or they would not have been certified for occupancy. Also, there may be some upper floor units that may require more work than others, as a portion of the roof may have never been fixed.

"Have you ever owned a century building?"

Yes, one that dates back to around 1885 - around 15,000 square feet, and was totally rehabilitated in the last decade.

"Do you KNOW anything about century buildings?"

From above, Yes... and also from working to bring life back to around 12 (twelve) century buildings in our core since 1999, (totaling over 100,000 square feet of rehabilitated space in all--of which most recently is a building of around 25,000 square feet, half of which was built prior to 1875). Besides this, have also had the privilege of working on a 40 room castle from 1848, to make it functionally and financially viable for its owner, by getting an unconditional approval within three months from three city departments including Ontario Heritage Foundation who all had blocked the owners from attaining basic functionality for nearly 15 years.

"there are so many issues with these old buildings that the price to restore them quickly becomes prohibitive and that is why they get torn down and replaced."

Baloney. What you see here is a variant of "block busting". They are made to deteriorate, because there are tax incentives which owners accrue from such vandalism. They used to get torn down in the past because parking lots were allowed by the city, and it is great cash grab for uncreative minds. They gets torn down now in the hope that some big developers from out of town will see such vacant lands and buy it promptly on the basis of some poor drawings made by willing architects who dream of becoming rich and famous the easy way, and the media helps in selling such foolish dreams as it believes that to be progress.

"I have owned and worked on century buildings. The costs are huge."

Good for you. The costs for you may have been huge only if you did not know what you were doing, or are easily conned by consultants and contractors. I can tell you this from having worked on so many old buildings in my life, besides being an architect for over 30 years, and also having taught architecture at graduate and post graduate levels many years ago.

"If you disagree with the owners then why not step up to the plate and fork over some money and buy them from Blanchard and then you can do with them what you think is right."

Again, I would, if he is open to such an idea. Your passing on my earlier email to him, and setting up a meeting could be a great way to test your idea.

But my guess as every one here, is that he has been sitting on it for a decade with the intention of not fixing them or selling them, but just to tear them down, and sell the vacant lands for a huge 'notional' profit.

"Rents in the core especially in this type of old building are very low. People just don't want to live in the core. People live there because they cannot live in nicer better places. Lets make the core better and nicer then people will want to live there and finally the city will turn the corner and stop being supported by the burbs."

Once again, do you see the garbage you write. All properties, I have worked on in the core, for various owners and myself, are fully tenanted with high quality tenants who live here out of choice, because it is convenient or they opted out of life in suburbia.

The city core has already turned the corner, and people like Blanchard and you who are blind to the immense potential that the remaining run-down properties offer, are holding the core hostage for quick profits.

And by the way it is the urban city that subsidizes the 'burbs' and not the other way around. Do the math.

"How many properties have you branded? Or promoted? Or marketed? I am dieing to find out. In order to think that you can give advice in this area to man who has built up a sizable business doing exactly that then your answer must be truly impressive otherwise your offer is just pretentious."

The sizable business you mention is that of a Realtor, which is hardly a business, and more like a glorified service, given that one essentially place ads for owners in what was until recently a closed selling system, or some newspapers/magazines, and wait for buyers to show up and walk them thru with a fake smile, wearing your best suit. And if the sale works out, you make a chunk of money, and grow your business by hiring more sales people. You throw in property management services in the mix to people you have sold or rented for, and now you have the semblance of a business.

You are lucky if you know something about buildings as a Realtors, then maybe you start buying properties with all the cash flow from sales commissions, put together a pool of investors, and then you invent yourself as a owner... then the next leap is aspire to be a developer, if you know how to. This is the tricky part where most Realtors fail.

On Branding: The fact that this town worships and rewards wealth and bravado more than sincerity or intelligence, makes it very easy to become a "player" in the media.

You are mistaking Blanchard's media manufactured image with his ability to brand and market real estate. This is not branding, this is just small town behaviour working to promote the members of old boys club.

There is a down-to-earth Realtor in the core who has done more for downtown's growth, than Blanchard has ever down in a decade. You rarely hear of him in the press.

The peculiar manner in which Blanchard has managed to hammer a perfectly good project out of shape while polarizing the community even before he is out of the gates, speaks volumes of his ability to brand and market himself, and any new development he aspires for in Gore Park.

The only 50 condos that were built and sold in the core - within nine-month, bears my branding. It was intended for people in the film and theater industry across the region, (hence the name FilmWorks Lofts), a process that was underway, but the owner had a change of plans, and it got sold to various individuals from different background, who took a fancy to the branding and the way the project was presented.

"I suspect but do not know that actually you have done none of the above. I suspect but do not know that what you are really good at is spending other peoples money because you cannot spend your own to do the same kind of project."

I would love to invite you to the core someday to make you eat your words, and also to show you all that has been happening, while you have been dreaming of smashing every little bit that is left standing. But for that, you will have to learn to walk on the ground first. The clouds you are in presently will prevent you from recognizing the realty down here.

Why do I continue engaging with you? Because, I continue to be hopeful that people like you who have destroyed the peace of mind for the rest of us who are actually rebuilding this city, will one day have a better understanding of how healthier and safer cities grow in our times.

Mahesh P. Butani

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 09, 2013 at 09:26:18 in reply to Comment 84909

It is only cheaper to demolish and rebuild if you replace the existing building with cheap crap. It's simple math.

Your argument that a building with outdated plumbing and wiring needs to be replaces is utter garbage.

Comment edited by seancb on 2013-01-09 09:26:49

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted January 08, 2013 at 10:15:07 in reply to Comment 84790

Isn't that what developers exactly do? If not, they are simply not developers.

But the level of risk should be their decision should it not Mahesh? Or do you believe they should be forced to take risks they are not interested in taking for the sake of public interest?

Not sure how many developers you'd have if they have to let the public into their wallet to spend their money?

I feel the need to point out to this forum that developers are not here to make anything for us, (i.e., refurbish decrepit buildings, restore our city's heritage, etc...) they are money makers. Capitalists are not interested in charity.

Convincing Mr. Blanchard there is money to be made restoring the buildings will get you further than all the shame inducing articles, and condescending emails anyone here can write.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2013 at 10:56:01 in reply to Comment 84822

Nobody forced Blanchard to take the risk to buy those buildings.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted January 09, 2013 at 10:10:13 in reply to Comment 84836

The risk in buying the buildings demolishing them and rebuilding was acceptable to him. The risk of having to refurbish the crumbling old buildings would be one imposed on him not one of his choice.

Again, quit with your obfuscation Sean. Or are you really that obtuse?

His argument is the buildings are too far gone. Argue that with him or better yet, show him they are not. Don't just attempt to shame him and drag the man's name through the mud in any forum available to you.

Between dealing with the messed up city bureaucracy and all the arm-chair developers in this city looking to publicly criticize just about anything, I don't know why anyone would want to develop anything in this city.

Such a glass-is-half-empty place.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 09, 2013 at 10:41:03 in reply to Comment 84934

Obtuse? I understand what you are saying. I just think you are wrong. I have said it before but I'll try to clarify again: We may own property, but we have a responsibility to the community to maintain the property, and maintain the character and spirit of the surrounding area. In other words, the public does have a stake in private property concerns, especially in densely developed areas such as cities.

I have disagreed with you without calling you dense. I would appreciate the same respect.

Regarding the obfuscation that you've called me out on repeatedly, I don't know what you think I'm hiding. I have been as straightforward as I can about my thoughts. I'm not sure what I can say if you don't understand my points, I have done my best to state them clearly.

I have spoken with Blanchard and quoted him directly. If he has been shamed, it happened by his own words and actions.

Regarding public criticism, I think that any progressive developer or businessperson would be excited to work in a city where the there is a healthy community of citizen engagement.

Would you prefer the plebes just shut up and let the landowners do as they please?

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By 1234 (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2013 at 17:41:29 in reply to Comment 84755

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2013 at 05:38:07 in reply to Comment 84758

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2013 at 08:19:11 in reply to Comment 84769

Keep up your perverse argument and opinion because the more you express it the more people will start to understand that it is the same opinion that our City Council and bureaucrats hold and work under.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 06, 2013 at 18:17:55 in reply to Comment 84758

Yeah, which is why that piece 'o crap Pantheon needs to come down right away before someone is killed.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2013 at 01:29:29 in reply to Comment 84759

You are seriously trying to compare 3 crappy buildings in downtown Hamilton to the Pantheon. A new level of nonsense even for this site. A new level of ridiculousness even for this site. A new low even for this site.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 10, 2013 at 15:03:59 in reply to Comment 84908

Sigh. Yet another LAOA comprehension fail. I was responding to 1234's contention that structures built with cement prior to the 20th century are hopelessly compromised by inferior quality, by pointing out that the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome is somehow still standing after nearly 2,000 years.

Oh, and portland cement was developed in the early part of the 19th century.

Comment edited by highwater on 2013-01-10 15:04:20

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 10, 2013 at 01:46:56 in reply to Comment 84908

LOL-aoa:

Well, at least you have some appreciation for one old building!! But do you know its history? It may not be what you think. It was destroyed a few times... by nature and the foolishness of men. And yet those who knew the value of history, kept rebuilding it.

"pantheum vetustate corruptum cum omni cultu restituerunt" ('with every refinement they restored the Pantheon worn by age')... and vandalism much similar to what you are suggesting, managed to strip it bare:

"Remaining at Rome twelve days he pulled down everything that in ancient times had been made of metal for the ornament of the city, to such an extent that he even stripped off the roof of the church [of the blessed Mary], which at one time was called the Pantheon, and had been founded in honour of all the gods and was now by the consent of the former rulers the place of all the martyrs; and he took away from there the bronze tiles and sent them with all the other ornaments to Constantinople. ~ Paul the Deacon

In spite of all of this, why did it keep getting rebuilt?

Mahesh P.Butani

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2013-01-10 01:49:41

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 06, 2013 at 23:31:46

Thank you for posting this informative article by Adrian Morrow. It is news to many Torontonians and Hamiltonians, including myself, that William Thomas, the architect who designed two of the Gore buildings, went on to design St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto which is designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. The Thomas buildings at the Gore were also built six years before Hamilton officially became a city and about twenty years before the buildings contained in Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto were constructed.

By the way, an article titled "Big turnout for Gore history tour" by Molly Hayes was posted on thespec.com tonight: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

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By Aggi (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2013 at 06:29:49

Shame the Globe didn't start caring about Hamilton's architectural heritage earlier. As recently as a decade ago, a potential demolition (or any real ones, for that matter) wouldn't even have merited a shrug from the G&M.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2013 at 20:19:58 in reply to Comment 84771

in their defense, Hamilton didn't care about it's own heritage or future for decades. Only recently have people begun to take active pride in this place and call out the old boys' club when they make another dumb suggestion.

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By Aggi (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2013 at 06:45:54 in reply to Comment 84783

True. And the Globe simply reflects the zeitgeist. I believe that the paper was caught up in Hamilton's Civic Square zeal just like virtually everyone else at the time.

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By granng (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2013 at 18:18:06

To me, LOL AOA's defensive and denigration of Hamilton's remaining historical core suggests lack of awareness of how deep is the disgust and distress of those who live downtown. We are disgusted that the developer took the sleazy route in applying for the demolition permit when Council isn't sitting, and that our Councillors, mostly suburban, would allow this travesty to slip by.

My understanding is that the permit's a done deal.
That being the case, the only way to stop demolition is to block the machines ourselves.

I'm quite confident that there will be a good crowd turn up for that. :D
Cos this demolition idea is friggen looney toons.

And btw ... we want the

"I know all the heritage people. I knew there would be issues. I don’t know the costs." (Blanchard)
Paul.Wilson@CBC.ca

I'll tell you the cost of tearing them down: Your company name will be MUD!
Now ... let's get this done ... teach these guys something about what a LIVABLE downtown looks like. It doesn't look like empty blank highrise facades right against the street!!! That's DEADSPACE!!!

It looks like historical buildings with street presence ... cafes, retail, rooftop restaurants overlooking Gore Park fountain ... places where PEDESTRIANS come
and hang out for a while, enjoy themselves ... and spend money.
And it looks like LIVING SPACE - condo towers are good! Set back from the street, with courtyards between perhaps?
But NOT towers butting right against the street with their stupid blank walls and soulless stares, where beautiful historical buildings now stand, and will be forever mourned, just like the rest of downtown so foolishly destroyed decades ago.
This is not then. We simply CANNOT do that again.

... And I'm really partial to rooftop restaurants lining the Gore. :)

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 15, 2013 at 11:09:19

ugh...they voted to preserve the shorter stone buildings, but demolish the two taller white ones. I know people like stone and all, but I LOVE those two tall white ones. Such a shame to know we'll be losing part of our founding heart.

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By bvb borussia (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2013 at 17:21:49

If he has bought and paid for them he can what he pleases. If you think you know better, buy the buildings and do what you want. Until then, stop whining.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted January 22, 2013 at 19:53:31 in reply to Comment 85398

Then you won't mind me buying the house next to you and turning it into an industrial slaughterhouse.

Or do we agree that you can't just do whatever you want with your property when you live in a society with other people?

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