Sprawl

Centre Mall Big Box Plans

By Jason Leach
Published November 12, 2007

Welcome to your new Centre Mall [PDF]:

Centre Mall Big Box Redesign Plans
Centre Mall Big Box Redesign Plans (click the image to view larger)

Thank goodness the Farmers Market got out of there.

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

19 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Frank (registered) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 10:31:04

Holy ugly! Way to much parking... Why can't people building parking garages? They're not that hard and they take up less room!!! I have the same concern with this as many of the smaller merchants in the mall on Upper James and Fennell that was bought by Smart Centres (same company as this) and is being developed inot somewhat the same thing... WHERE DO THE LITTLE GUYS GO? The little hole-in-the-wall shops where you actually get real customer service? the places where you find things you would never find at a larger store? How are we letting Smart Centres get away with buying all of our malls and butchering them?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By trey (registered) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 10:43:11

Just at a glance it looks that 60% of the land use is for parking. And this fits with the city's objective of higher density, less dependency on car use???? Once again, the city and developers say one thing and in practice do the opposite. The Spec should redo Future City as 60% of the city land as surface parking. because that's where we are heading.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 12:54:07

I don't get out to Centre Mall very often, but whenever I do, it is clear that it is a gathering spot for many members of the community, particularly seniors. I'm no fan of malls, but the reality is that they are the 'main street' for many suburban communities, with all the social aspects that that entails. This development is 'main street' blown apart - all the negatives of a mall with none of the positives. No focal point, no shelter, and no gathering spot for those who made Centre Mall their second home. I feel terrible for the people who have lost their de facto community centre. Where will they go? Likely they'll stay home in isolation. This development sends a clear message: if you don't have a car and plenty of disposable income, you are no longer welcome.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Al Rathbone (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 13:25:35

Oh Come on. As someone who used to shop there all the time theres no change. Slightly more parking is a negative but as a positive there is now a street front presence.

So I'm pretty neutral on the whole thing, rather lackluster.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 12, 2007 at 14:53:10

"there is now a street front presence"

If this is like most big box developments - and I've seen nothing so far to indicate that it isn't - the stores will be facing inside to the interior parking lot, not outside onto the street.

Even if they are facing outside as well as inside, the buildings on Ottawa Street are so fragmented by parking, ramps, setbacks and useless berms that any possibility of a coherent street wall is destroyed.

This is far worse than lacklustre: it's a big step in exactly the wrong direction.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Frank (registered) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 15:00:01

Al...no change? Separate stores in separate buildings is useful in Ancaster. The demographic that uses Centre mall will most definitely not see any advantage to having to walk between stores while exposed to the elements - in fact, they'll probably stop using it. It's a poor use of land. Street presence? at the cost of what? Why not pull an Eaton Centre only better? Build a mall that's attractive architecturally but instead of making a bland brick wall in front, put some nice shopfronts and a covered walkway. Allow parking at the rear in a parking structure whether above or below ground. Have a centre common "aisle" if you will for small vendors and booths, and then stores on the other side with frontage facing inwards and access through a rear main entrance like the mall at U. James and Fennell. This type of facility would promote the use of the sidewalk and public transit rather than driving in cars and allow the mall to maintain it's community feel.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By w willy (registered) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 15:00:18

In the approvals process, the least that can be demanded is the creation of a solid street wall along Barton, with entrances limited to existing ones. If one wanted to push the GRIDS envelope, we could seek some mixed-use development, although I don't know what the contamination issues are there. Of course, for a council that does not even want to ask Shoppers to add residential on top of the proposed store on George Street downtown, this is hard to imagine.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Jon Dalton (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 16:36:12

These plans go through because the design is generic and low cost and economic success of the project is virtually guaranteed. Builders build like this because they know they can fill the retail space with the usual generic chain stores, who in turn know that they will bring in customers. If people were discerning in their shopping habits, those conditions would not be in place. We have to live with this garbage because the general public supports it. Look at the recent turnaround of Queenston mall for example. They did the same thing there, and people love it. It's as Kunstler said, people don't always get what they expect, but they get what they deserve.

I'm just glad there's no VIA station in that diagram.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Josh (registered) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 17:17:43

I see good points and bad points - in the end only time will tell if this has a tangible benefit or detriment to the area. I think today's Centre Mall is an eye-soar, isn't exactly pedestrian friendly as is, and more to the point isn't economically viable as a mall any longer. It's true, this will not improve the facade of ailing Barton and is a step in the wrong direction in terms of making the area a destination for the type of shopping we should be encouraging in East Hamilton. But it may draw people to the neighbourhood and bolster the shops on Ottawa. I agree with the general consensus that the new developments will likely be big-corporate box stores - not the preferred choice I agree. But as long they won't be the type of businesses that will compete directly with the existing shops on Ottawa, I think I'd approve of the change from mall to box stores. I think when we're talking about what to do with a defunct mall we can't view economically viable box stores as a total loss - what should be ensured however is which specific box stores are given license. I believe the merchandise of the stores will determine the impact on the neighbourhood - good or bad - and must support the existing retail mix of the area, rather than competing directly with it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mrmartin (registered) - website | Posted November 13, 2007 at 10:59:03

Wow, not one female comment. I asked my wife and she said she loves that style. Thats why this style works and you guys all know that you do not try to fix what isn't broken!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted November 13, 2007 at 17:20:08

Gee, mrmartin, I'm surprised that someone as well versed in gender stereotypes as yourself couldn't tell from my softheaded, bleeding heart concern for the Centre Mall denizens that I am indeed female.

Oh, and I detest the big box shopping format and everything it represents with every fibre of my being. It is broken beyond all repair, along with the automobile and cheap consumer goods obsessions that spawned it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Frank (registered) | Posted November 15, 2007 at 14:14:02

Oops Mr. Martin.... just because people like something, doesnt mean that it should be done. If that was the case there'd be a lot more problems than we have now.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Matt A (registered) | Posted November 25, 2007 at 15:52:39

good grief!

I used to work at a masterplanning firm, and the biggest project I worked on was one that aimed to 'design out crime and fear of crime'. My immediate reaction to this is one of shock at it's over-permeability. You can get in, and out from anywhere! And, once you are on the inside, who is going to see you stealing a car/mugging an old lady/breaking into a store!?!? With all the merchants on Barton now blocking the view of the parking lot (especially at night), who knows what evils will take place??

Now.. don't get me wrong, I believe that the stores should abut Barton, but a I also firmly believe in the concept of defensible space (ex. all builings facing out at attention, all their backs are back-to-back). An effort to recreate and reconnect the historic streetscape would likely have my vote.

I currently work at Centre Mall, and the area is far from perfect, but we certainly do not need a design that exacerbates the problems we now face.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Concerned Observer (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2007 at 21:20:30


How many of you believe that the new supercentre planned for Stoney Creek will be approved, in the same way that Hamilton approves most developments that come around?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 04, 2007 at 22:14:34

Well, Hamilton is notorious for disregarding its goals and policies when it comes time to approve residential or commercial sprawl projects.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By BSMITH (anonymous) | Posted December 11, 2007 at 07:23:10

As a home owner in the area, it will be interesting to see the effects this redevelopment will have on the housing market. Overall I like the plans but am questioning if anything will be done about the residential hole that is known as the Centre Mall Appartments. It's a shame to have put all this money into the redevelopment if there will be such an eye-soar adjacent to it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By ashley (registered) | Posted December 26, 2007 at 01:55:46

yes i agree why would you take center mall down for parking. everyone is taking things away from the kids you changed the old movie theater behind center mall away for a bingo hall. The only place i know that is open these days is KIWANIS BOYS & GIRLS CLUB,STOP TAKING EVERYTHING AWAY isnt there enuff stuff around besides places for kids to go. if you take everything away from the kids what else are they going to do. Besides go out get into trouble,fights.go to jail. there is nothing to do for the kids, you people need to stop and think about the children and what they will be doing out on the streets, and how they feel. we have enuff parking but not alot of places for the children to go, stop taking every thing from the children for your money. think about it. do you really want all the teenagers and children go out and get into trouble and go to jail when they should be out having a life.well thats where they are headed if you take everything away from them. TO JAIL THEY GO OR EVEN END UP BEING DEAD ON THE STREETS BECAUSE OF ALL THE VOILENCE FROM EVERYONE HAVING NOTHING TO DO TO HAVE FUN... THINK ABOUT IT. THINK BEFORE YOU SAY OR DO....

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By neighbor of the mall (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2009 at 20:42:02

I agree with Ashley,Kids are bored a bowling alley,arcade, movies, or indoor playground maybe even a new park would be fabulous to add to such a big adult accommodating place. I also dont agree with the store facing in it looks like crap for those who live facing the mall oh and maybe take out some parking spots turn it into a parking garage with cameras maybe security guards cause lets face it this isn't exactly a great neighborhood and maybe put in some smaller stores for smaller businesses. other ideas for kids maybe ice cream parlour/pizzeria with some pool tables or laser tag or paintball there is lots of ideas but because it dont make the big bucks everyone would rather the kids just find something else to do. keep the young ones in mind since you already took the warm mall away at least they could go hang out in the food court but now there is nothing but Kiwanis but that place cant hold all the kids in the neighborhood.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By onjay (anonymous) | Posted November 18, 2009 at 11:02:35

box stores in canada bad, no more centermall bad, whomever backed this idea does not support the community

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds