Building Up vs. Building Out

By Jason Leach
Published January 31, 2007

Paul Wilson has written a fabulous piece in today's Hamilton Spectator about Al Frisina, builder of Hamilton's tallest building, Century 21. It's now called Landmark Place and Mr Frisina doubts that we'll see anything taller built for quite some time.

It's a shame that he had to scrap the revolving restaurant at the top. Hamilton has a pile of hig-hrises downtown, but no top floor restaurant anywhere (not counting the cafeteria above city hall).

The articles mentions his first highrise building at Bay and Hunter. My wife and I lived there after we got married in 2001. The place is marvelous. The lobby was used by friends of our for their wedding pictures.

The heavy brass doorknobs still exist throughout and it is very obvious that the building was built with the highest quality.

How ironic that back in the 1960s Mr Frisina (a developer) had to bring in a consultant to prove to city hall that "they could save money on services by building up instead of out". Now, we've got city hall bringing in consultants trying to convince us that they should build out instead of up.

it makes me sad to realize that Hamilton city council knew about smart growth vs. dumb growth back in the '60s. They've just chosen to ignore the facts and have apparently been more than happy to waste citizen's money by growing outward over the past 30 years.

The basic principles of higher density growth vs. low density growth haven't changed since then. We hear a lot from the homebuilders about "free market economies" and how they're just "building what people want".

The last time I checked, wasting my tax money through massive sprawl subsidies by intentionally underutilizing city services, wasting precious farmland and adding to the health burden in our society is not a "free market".

It's no wonder sprawl has been called "the largest social program in the history of Western civilization". There's nothing free about it.

For those concerned about Hamilton's future, you'll want to attend the Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting at city hall on Thursday, February 1 at 9:30 AM.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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By oscar (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2007 at 22:29:37

Take a look at that so called wonderfully built building (I do like it) facing the front door from across the street, look up about 3 or 4 stories. On the left side of the building you will see a small ledge. When they were building the structure, the builders were heading off to who-knows-where. luckily someone realized and stated fresh a few stries up. Too bad, we coulda had a leaning tower of hammer.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 01, 2007 at 11:48:02

Landmark Place or the Fountainblue apartment building?? I'll have to check that out.

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