(This blog entry was first published on the Skyscraper page)
I had very extensive talks with the MEC spokespeople back when the mecinhamilton thing was just starting. I totally understand where they are coming from financially.
But no matter what, it just makes no sense that they are locating in the middle of a highway/big box/strip mall/suburban nightmare, and they have the gall to claim that it is "centrally located and readily accessible", and "located in an area of the city that's experiencing regrowth".
It is literally surrounded by highway right of ways which will never be developed and low density retail/housing which, let's be honest, is never going to be torn down to make way for mixed use buildings.
Anyone who isn't a hardcore "greenie" is going to drive to this MEC location. Even access to GO is pathetic. To get from the Burlington GO to this location on foot, it will go something like this:
Compare that to anywhere in downtown Hamilton, where you'd be walking distance to the GO, Greyhound AND the downtown HSR "hub" (Gore Park/MacNab "turnaround"), not to mention lots of high density housing - and on this walk, you'd pass lots of retail and amazing architecture instead of parking lots and cloverleaf ramps.
Hell, I don't care what city they move to, as long as they at least try to make their location accessible by alternative transportation.
Have they ever tried to cycle on Brant or Plains? It's a nightmare of automobile-scale development.
Here's a visual comparison:
I admit I have a very heavy bias toward Hamilton, but from the sounds of it, they tried to find land in Burlington/Oakville that was suitable, and they couldn't; so they settled.
I know that they have bills to pay, and I know that their new building is going to be really cool (LEEDS and all), but in the end, all of that is going to go down the tubes when every customer visits them by way of single occupancy vehicle.