International Village has turned a hard, sharp corner and it looks like only bigger and better things can happen from here.
By Trey Shaughnessy
Published September 09, 2007
It was good to see a crane hovering over downtown's International Village this summer.
Crane Spotted on King St. E.
It's the construction site of Spallacci Group's development, known as "Terraces on King". I think it will be a handsome, 11-floor building, finished in red brick, with lots of windows, balconies, and a grand(ish) centre-canopied entrance, leading to a spacious lobby with a seating area and lounge, plus retail storefronts.
Terraces on King: 260-280 King St. E., Hamilton
The top is finished with a stone (look) cornice, although the rendering doesn't show it, but I'm sure a mechanical penthouse will crown the top. I'm assuming the reason why it isn't depicted is because they are usually ugly boxes that house the tops of elevator shafts and accesses to the roof.
The latest trend in high-rise architecture is to hide the 'box' in an elaborately designed roof pinnacle. Sometimes this becomes the defining characteristic of a postmodern building.
1000 de La Gauchetière, Montréal QC (Image Source: Wikipedia)
I don't think Terraces on King will suffer from not tacking on a pinnacle. The style and scale of the building is practically perfect for King East. I can also appreciate what Spallacci Group is doing, trying to preserve a historical architectural style while blending into the street.
I'm happy to report that Terraces will put parking underground, where it will not disrupt the streetwall too badly and add to sprawl by using a surface parking lot. Ideally, automobile use would be irrelevant, but for now, storage for 117 automobiles will take place over two and half levels below ground.
The ground floor will have retail space, a total of 2027 square feet to be exact. Not a lot, but at least it's there and will span almost the entire King Street frontage, except for two parking garage entrance/exit access ramps.
The Terraces on King construction site
It appears the building won't quite connect with the neighbouring Denningers. It's unfortunate but understandable. Victorian streetwalls consisted of buildings mostly built from similar materials and within a narrower span of time than what is occurring today.
Terraces is a 21st century building next to an early 20th century building. Almost 100 years separate these buildings so that is likely the reason they arn't 'joined' in the typical Victorian style. Let's hope Spallacci gets creative with this void. At least the vintage Coca-Cola sign will be somewhat exposed for posterity.
The old Coca-Cola ad exposed when the Spallacci building was demolished
Spallacci Group is also setting the building only slightly back from the street to accommodate sidewalk patios, depending on what type of business occupies the two available retail spaces. This is probably the only reason to set a building back from the street beyond what is necessary for pedestrians to walk comfortably.
Paris Street Cafe (Image Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison)
In summary, King East and downtown Hamilton couldn't benefit much more with this development.
The 43 one-bedroom and 79 two-bedroom units are very affordable and range in size from 586 square feet to 899 square feet. It will add vibrancy and life to King East and benefit the immediate cafes, mini-markets, retail, restaurants and numerous shops that have persevered through tough times.
Clearly, International Village has turned a hard, sharp corner and it looks like only bigger and better things can happen from here.
Note to developers: Downtown Hamilton doesn't have a landmark high-rise postmodern tower/pinnacle. Yours could be the crown of an underrated, soon to be a realized, hot Ontario real estate market.
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