Comment 84470

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted December 27, 2012 at 16:03:42

The historic streetwall (part) on Gore Park South above, with the streetwall as it stands today, below: (buildings: 12, 18/20/22, 24/28 + 30)

Except for the garish storefront signage w/stucco backing, which has lowered the main floor facade heights, and the bad stucco job on the face of 24 King, very little needs to be done to bring them back to their former glory. Much like the Terraces on James South, or the Sandyford Place off James South.

These buildings (not counting No:12, the bank bldg), have close to 14,000 sq.feet of retail, (with potential for a patio where 30 Kings was demolished). And close to 33,600 sq.feet of live/work space on upper floors. That is almost 50,000 sq.feet of usable space.

A better visioning process such as below of transplanting the old design on the current -- could have seen the heart of our core thriving as early as 2002.

Because of the contiguous nature of these solid buildings in Gore Park, it would have been very easy to build an addition of two-three floors at the rear half - (set back around 50 feet from front, with stepped terraces facing Gore park; and new exits/elevators at rear), to bring the total live/work space to around 50,000 sq.feet + retail of around 14,000 sq.ft.

Depending on the vision of the developer, an innovative boutique hotel with stepped floors could have been added on these additional floors - without impacting the existing facade -- which could have been stripped down and restored to its original design for little cost (as you can see from the composite images above, very little has to be done to restore these facades). The entrance to this 100+ room terraced boutique hotel on top could have been from the Bank Building, which could have had a thriving indoor urban environment, with: a 24hrs cafe, jazz lounge, gift shops/retail, and Hamilton's history & Hall of fame gallery.

In conjunction with the Right House conversion (across Gore Park) to live/work lofts (and not its current misplaced office use) - close to 125,000 sq. feet of high quality loft space could have been put into the market, which in turn would have seen close to 200 young people living/working in the core for the last ten years.

Why buildings get demolished most often is because their developers aspire for more square footage such as: 14,000 sq.feet (existing floor plate) x 10 floors = 140,000 sq.feet. Hence all the talk of deterioration and the need for progress.

What such developers and their architects who pander to their whims, do not know is that with very little creativity, the very same density can be achieved without demolishing such very well crafted buildings.

In this particular case, the council could very easily satisfy the developer's craving for pre-mature progress, (i.e. growth, height...) by transferring the balance height (air rights) from these wonderful buildings to the empty parking lots at rear, which he owns. These two lots facing James and Main can very easily absorb another 100,000 sq. feet from the buildings facing Gore.

The city gets to keep its heritage - intact, its alleyway free, and acheive the density it needs for assessment revenues, while the developer gets his square footage.

Mahesh P. Butani

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-12-27 16:46:47

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