Comment 84538

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 29, 2012 at 19:26:04

If we cannot convince the province and council to do something before January 9th, these buildings may become Hamilton's next parking lot.

There is a bylaw named after David Blanchard due to his demolition beside Pigott.

He already pulled down 30 King Street East via a surprise demolition permit.

While there are a few historic building renovations credited to him, his track record is more generally in the realm of large-scale commercial real estate brokering.

Not only does he not have experience with historic restoration, he has zero interest in being a landlord of smaller-scale businesses, preferring to rent to huge companies needing huge square footage.

But aside from all of this, Wilson Blanchard has no plan for development! This demolition is purely a strategic move to chase after financing for a development yet to be determined.

The following is reposted from my comment on a previous article (in case anyone missed it)

I interviewed Blanchard for the December Hamilton Magazine piece

I'll leave it to the readers to determine if these are the words of a man with a visionary plan.

After the salutation, the first words out of his mouth were:

Well we don't have a real solid plan there so...

Which set the tone for the entire conversation. Here are some more choice quotes from the full interview.

When asked about timeframe for construction and tenanting a new development:

I'm not optimistic that we'll have construction let alone demolition within, you know, a long time. I mean the only reason we're doing anything now is because interest rates are low...

When asked why the current buildings should come down when there's "no solid plan" yet:

If we take them down and work away at planning, that's not gonna be a problem because when we finally do get a plan and a tenant and financing, we'll be able to move forward quickly, so why not?

When asked about his vision for what would face Gore Park:

Potentially a grocery store, or a Target, or whatever. I don't know

When asked whether he would consider developing facades with narrower storefronts (like the ones that will be replaced) and smaller businesses:

It has to be a large tenant because those small tenants can't afford the kind of rent that is going to have to be charged for a brand new building like that. [...] I'd rather just get one cheque for $250,000 a month or something than 50, 70, 80, 200 cheques.

Is this what we want in the core? Buildings removed because "interest rates are low"? The result being an empty lot that we will have to live with for how long? While Blanchard sends feelers out to big box stores like Target who he hopes he can lure into financing his dream project?

He's gambling with our assets.

Comment edited by seancb on 2012-12-29 19:29:11

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