Revitalization

Proposed Condo at Entrance to Bayfront Park

By Jason Leach
Published October 05, 2010

Clark Cerello has rolled out another fantastic urban condo project [PDF link] similar to his Strathcona Ave one, this time at the entrance to Bayfront Park.

Cerello has applied for a rezoning on the property, from "D" (Urban Protected Residential-One and Two Family Dwelling) to "DE/S-1634" (Low Density Multiple Dwelling) to build a three-storey, six-unit condo at 366 Bay St. N. with parking in the rear and a green roof.

Scroll down toward the bottom of the linked report for some poorly copied renderings. What a beautiful enhancement for the entrance to the park, and a perfect way to increase density without building towers.

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

54 Comments

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By pipe72 (anonymous) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 14:41:51

What about the people living next door? Is it really necessary to tear down a perfectly sound home to build a newer, larger building that may or may not suit the character of the neighborhood?

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By Ancopa (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 15:09:53

Judging by the renditions, it looks like that building will fit in and compliment neighbouring structures.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted October 05, 2010 at 15:26:49

It looks like they've been quite responsive to concerns about noise and other design issues, including that it's built to resemble a house instead of a giant condo, so it blends into the neighbourhood. I doubt anyone would find having a project like that a real problem (plus it also might be nice that more amenities become sustainable in the neighbourhood as population density increases!)

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By mikeyj (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 16:02:27

There are quite a few letters of opposition in the Application for a one storey addition. It seems everyone is for increasing density until they realize it could happen next door.

Anyway, here are a couple of my favourite points against this development:

-"Decrease the value of our home" pg.45 - exactly, nothing brings down value like investment in your neighbourhood

-"The jarring vision of a 3-story condo unit, either from the street or my front window would be unacceptable." pg.42 - I guess my area needs a 'Beware of Unacceptable Jarring Visions' sign, stat.

Comment edited by mikeyj on 2010-10-05 15:16:11

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 16:07:18

I have no clue what happened to this proposal at yesterdays meeting, but I'm glad to see staff was recommending to approve it. This is how we can densify the city without building towers everywhere.

I'm a little perplexed at the concept that a 6 unit condo is somehow intrusive or 'jarring' on a street with 2.5- 3 story homes all over the place.
It's a 3 story condo built to look like a semi-detached house so common downtown.

I would LOVE this to be built next to my house.

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By pipe72 (anonymous) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 17:17:13

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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By I Care (anonymous) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 18:04:55

Jason - clearly you must have a biased interest in this project. Almost 200 signatures have been collected protesting against it. Virtually the entire community surrounding the building doesn't want it to happen.

The existing heritage brick building would be spectacular once fixed up. Why not preserve the existing structure!

Mr Cerello can find another project to fill his already overflowing pockets. His "Green" features don't compensate for the fact that the project is not in the interests of the community. A paved yard and buildings that shadow the neighbourhood yards is not innovative, or welcome.

Kinda reminds me of Wal-Mart putting a solar panel on their roof. Sure, the panel is nice, but the mega-corporation model destroys our local economy. That's wrong, and the bigger issue that should receive attention.

Similarly, this project is not acceptable. The neighbours don't want it. Let's do better.

The owner has greed on the brain. Scram!!!

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By z jones (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 18:18:02

Some serious NIMBY on this thread.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 19:53:21

The reaction to this project clearly illustrates whats holding back the city. This is EXACTLY the type of development the core needs to rejuvenate downtown. More well to do families in the area means more money in the area which means more incentive for business to invest in our downtown.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 19:58:35

somewhat related, I stumbled across this info about more new condos being built in a large old home on Stinson, across from the Stinson lofts:

http://stinsonschool.com/floorplans_109O...

I agree with turbo - this is exactly what we need more of. Reminds me of Montreal. Beautiful condos and lofts in many historic homes and mansions. Heck, in Mississuaga they are building 60 story condo towers in an effort to intensify their land use, yet here (in a so-called 'real city') it's still a big deal for a 3-story addition to a 3-story home??

FYI, the Bay St condo mentioned above will be restoring the current home on site. It won't be demolished. Same as the one on Strathcona Ave that Clark is doing.

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By Breeze (anonymous) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 20:14:58

I live around the corner from this site and must say as a Northender I certainly welcome it! Not only will it increase the value in my house, but will do so for all our properties.
Its directly around the corner from the survey which sometime adds a stigma to the area, so I welcome any investment that brings money in.

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By Jacob_S (anonymous) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 20:16:29

I agree with z Jones.

I don't care what area of the city you're from, but intensification and density have become the name of the game in Ontario. Lots are supposed to be smaller, houses closer together, more multi-unit housing, townhouses, condos, apartments, etc. etc. That is the mandate from the province because we cannot continue building sprawl forever.

Up the street from me they turned a former school into, what in the opinion of many was far too many townhouses. Are there issues with street parking we didn't have before? Yes. Is it a disaster? Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Yes, they appear to be proposing to double the density (based on what I've read here) is having 4 more vehicles in your neighbourhood really that horrific? (8 instead of 4?)

Don't rely on city hall to fight your battles for you, especially if the issue is intensification, because you WILL lose at the OEB, especially against such a small scale (low density) project.

Just be happy you're not facing a large scale development like at the Chedoke Brow. Now there's something worth being concerned over.

Your neighbourhood is changing. You can accept it, or you can fight it. But this is not a fight that you will win in the long term. Sure maybe you can delay some of the larger developments, but you won't hold them off forever. So while I wish the best of luck to those of you who want to fight it, don't be surprised if you lose.

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By demo (anonymous) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 21:38:22

how about we build on some of the vast tracks of vacant land or parking lots in the lower city to increase density before we start ripping down functioning buildings? wouldn't that be more in keeping with the raise the hammer ideals?

new buildings kill two birds with one stone by getting rid of vacant land or parking lots which are net detractors from communities, while also increasing the number of residents in the area which is a net benefit to an area.

ripping down houses to build bigger houses should be something we as a city start doing once all the easily redeveloped lands are starting to fill in.

let the down voting begin!

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 22:00:36

I attended the city's LRT meeting last week and they had a great brochure available on residential intensification. The used the example of the two following buildings.

Hellenic house on Strathcona - http://www.cianfronearchitect.com/R-HR.s...

And this high rise condo on Queen North - http://www.homefinder.ca/listing/details...

The brochure states that the 5 storey building on Strathcona is 243 units/hectare The 22 storey condo on Queen is 213 units/hectare.

It's a great example of how urban intensification can be more human scaled and not necessarily made up of mega-towers (even though our skyline could use a few. LOL)

Have you ever wondered how Brooklyn, NY is more dense than Toronto?

Brooklyn - http://planetgreen.discovery.com/work-co... Toronto - http://www.travelblissful.com/wp-content...

Brooklyn - 13,500 sq/km Toronto - 4,000 sq/km

I personally see no problem with taking a somewhat rundown house, or in the Strathcona case, an old boarding house and converting it into high end condos. We always say we want downtown Hamilton to turn around and more people with better income to move here and help create a better mix of social classes and demographics. Well, let's not act like a 90 storey tower was just proposed next to your house when in fact it's really 2, 3-storey triplexes. But instead of charging $450 a month and having an absentee landlord, you're going to have neighbours with money paying condo fees for great property maintenance. It will enhance the entire neighbourhood. I'm not kidding when I say I'd love one of these projects next to my house. I've suggested to Mr Cerello that he look at purchasing one of the homes next to me that need some serious TLC - one has no hydro, water or anything running anymore. It's been virtually abandoned for a few years (although the owner does sleep there many nights). Another on our street is an illegal triplex that until last week was rented out to known criminals, drug dealers, pimps etc..... on a block with 14 children. Mr. Cerello is more than welcome to move up to my end of Strathcona anytime he likes.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 22:02:02

sorry. I found the intensification brochure online:

http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/F245...

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By Ancopa (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 22:02:56

Demo, it's unlikely you'll find anybody here that disagrees with you, but intensification is still intensification, and like it or not, there are going to be projects that are build where existing structures stand.

I can understand why neighbours would be opposed to the development, because its much easier to imagine the negative impact than the positive impact. Change can be scary, but rest assured, this will be a positive for the neighbourhood.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 22:05:23

ripping down houses to build bigger houses should be something we as a city start doing once all the easily redeveloped lands are starting to fill in.

I agree 100% with this.

A couple of problems though.
1. the owners of empty lots may not be willing to sell, as Harry Stinson found out. 2. no homes are being ripped down - in fact, they are being renovated, restored and added onto.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 22:12:17

I found this beauty response from Mr Greco when asked if he supports LRT or not:

Greco, Tony. Yes This will probably be the most important injection of Federal and Provincial money to the City of Hamilton over the next 20 years. This transit will be a catalyst to the future development of the City. It will not only better tie the city but will the source of much of our growth.

So, on one hand he gives the politically correct answer (and I'm pleased that saying 'yes' to LRT has become the logical response in Hamilton in 2010) but on the other hand he rips into a modest 7 storey condo building being built on the site of an old boarded up fast food restaurant.
You can't have it both ways. in his LRT answer he mentions "catalyst for future development". What type of development does he suggest? Are no empty Hortons stores along the LRT route allowed to become high end condos? Are buildings only allowed to be 3 stories high like in the Ancaster neighbourhood where he lives? Sorry Tony, but LRT brings in real, urban development. Condos, infill, towers in appropriate spots, hotels, office buildings etc......

Too many people and politicians in Hamilton only give lip service to urban revitalization and LRT oriented development. They all love going to Vancouver and Portland and drooling over all the cranes in their downtowns, but then come back here and balk at a 7 storey condo on a major street next to a 6 storey building.

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By pipe72 (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 08:02:20

I'm all for intensification, even in my own neighborhood. But, some folks writing in seem to be confusing the North End with the downtown core. Increasing the property
zoning from one family to six is unacceptable.




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By Ancopa (registered) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 08:03:56

Why?

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 09:51:15

This condo project does look very nice I will admit from sketches in the pdf. I would think they would add to any area. I would certainly rather have that across from my house rather than a very low end apartment building which I have now that tends to attract a less stable type of renter.

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By meredith (registered) - website | Posted October 06, 2010 at 10:17:31

I find it amazing that a property density of six is considered unacceptable. If there's families, it's more kids and funding for the school in the area, more taxpayer money for roads and amenities (unlike illegally converted multi-unit buildings that pay one household's worth of taxes)in the area - and these are generally stable, often longer-term folks, not a revolving door of tenants in a converted building.

I find the overall mindset scary - no offense to the OP. But if you don't welcome this kind of density - which is really apropos to the neighbourhood - what hope do we have of revitalizing this city and adding proper density anywhere else?

Hamilton is a CITY, not a suburb, and this is not a neighbourhood on the far-flung reaches of the city. It may not be "downtown" in one's purview, but it's still in an area walkable to the core.

Comment edited by meredith on 2010-10-06 09:19:12

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 06, 2010 at 10:47:17

The city has dumped metric assloads of money into making the west harbourfront a very nice place to be. Saying that only a handful of people can actually live near this investment stinks of elitism. Actual elitism, not "this politician sounds smarter than me and therefore is elitist" elitism.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-10-06 09:48:02

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 11:09:51

seems to be a big problem in Hamilton. People and politicians actually working to preserve things as they are. I like this response that's been posted a couple times here on RTH regarding Ward 3. I can't imagine living in Ward 3 and NOT feeling this way every single day. I work in Ward 3 every weekday and agree 100% with this poster:

Mr Morelli, I just received your postcard and want to address each of your points.

• Preservation of our neighbourhood environment. No thank you. I want my neighbourhood to improve. I’m tired of drug dealers and prostitutes. Really tired, and so are my neighbours.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 11:13:07

I'm all for intensification, even in my own neighborhood. But,

haha, just like "I'm not a racist, but..."

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 11:27:54

if Hamiltonian's freak out over 3 storey, 6 unit condos I guess we can forget about ever seeing something major built here eh?

http://www.google.ca/images?client=safar...

Love it, or hate it, this is in sprawlville - Mississuaga.

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By pipe72 (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 11:43:12

There are many-low/med rise condo projects planned for the North End already(Pier 8, Tiffany/Barton). Jamming the maximum allowable units(and then some) into an existing single dwelling property, sets a dangerous precedent for every other large or double lot. Citing increased property values and municipal taxes seems a little short sited to me. What about quality of life? Will you be able to safely cross Bay or James Street(or even cut-through side streets)? Outdoor tranquility replaced with 3-floor overlooking balconies, idling cars and large scale waste disposal containers. Many houses nearby don't have driveways; where will condo visitors park?

"Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things" Russel Baker

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By graham (registered) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 12:55:59

Yeah - those people that live in 6 unit condos are always idling their cars. They're probably fascists and commies too..

Geez, I really hope that the "dangerous precedent" of increasing Hamilton's urban population which would create more demand for local businesses and thereby increase the number of available, walkable services and business in local communities never comes to pass. It would be terrible to see some progress.

Its tiresome listening to people resist change in a city where the majority of the population is clamoring for it.

What is the obsession with parking?? It is the most common complaint about any new development and its completely ridiculous. A simple comparison.

Hamilton - easy to park in downtown and many residential neighborhoods. Toronto, New York, Montreal, Vancouver, Victoria, London, Pittsburgh, etc, etc, etc. - not so easy to park.

Not saying we want to be exactly like these cities, but it seems that vibrant, successful cities all have at least this one trait in common. I say enough with suburban parking desires. You want easy parking - move to the suburbs. Want change and improvements in Hamilton? Want an energetic urban city? Get over the fact that you might have to walk a block from your car to your house. It'll feel good when you walk down a busy, populated street (full of 6 unit condos ;) ) and past successful local business.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 13:19:39

Not saying we want to be exactly like these cities

I DO!

I've never bought into this Hamilton mentality that likes to act proud of how 'tough' we are to live here because it's such a downtrodden town compared to other places. Almost as if people like to revel in our state of decline.

There's nothing cool about sucking. There's nothing to be proud of for being in the midst of Canada's most prosperous region and until a few years ago, having virtually nothing to show for it. It's time for change. Anyone who doesn't want to be more like a successful, vibrant city is holding us back.

Great piece Graham - you're right on, as usual.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-10-06 12:22:45

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 13:38:24

If Kirkendall and the North End don't want Mr. Cerello to build condos in their neighbourhoods, I would be very happy to see them built in Beasley instead. And most of my friends in the area would agree.

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By pipe72 (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 13:56:48

Graham,

Not sure where the fascists and commies comment is coming from...? Do you live in the neighborhood? Or elsewhere? Is that the root of all the passive aggression?

I live with my wife and two kids in a house with no driveway and one car. My kids walk a few blocks to a school bus stop every day, rain or shine. We walk to the Farmers Market and Library once or twice a week. We also walk to various places in the neighborhood regularly (Bayfront Park, Pier 4, Bayview Park, Williams, Art Crawls, Mulberry Cafe, Acclamation...).My "obsession" with parking is, I would like to continue parking somewhere, anywhere, on my block.

I am not resistant to change. I am resistant to change for the sake of change.

As I already commented, there are condos planned for a few vacant lands in the area (2 buildings at Pier 8, at least 2 at the former stadium site-well over 100 units total), That is a substantial number of new residences for a small neighborhood. This influx of new people will bring vibrancy and energy to the area and I welcome that infusion of life.

Where does it end though? How many people is to many? That is my concern. This is a fantastic place to live. I would love for it to stay that way, today, tomorrow and five years from now.

See you 'round the 'Hood. :o)

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By GO GO (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 14:05:52

I second John's comment!

Mr. Cerello can come build a three story condo in my area as well. Better a 3 story condo then a "ghetto" 3 story rooming house which I have now!

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 14:11:47

I guess I shouldn't get too excited about Hamilton seeing a great wave of infill condo projects anytime soon eh??

http://www.google.ca/images?client=safar...

Oh well, we can always keep spending our hard-earned money to go and visit bustling cities if we choose to prevent our own from becoming one.

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By AndreaC (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 14:42:35

I am a North End resident who also would welcome investment into the neighbourhood, and this project seems on the right scale. I have invested significant amounts of money and effort into restoring my home and am always excited to see other projects commencing. As some commenters above noted, there is no reason to be proud of stagnation. I realize everyone has different budgets and abilities, but if everyone keeps working on small, sustainable improvement to their properties, it will not take long until we have made real, observable progress.

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By Ancopa (registered) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 16:03:13

I am not resistant to change. I am resistant to change for the sake of change.

This isn't change for the sake of change, this is change for the sake of intensification, which in turn leads to revitalization. It's progress!

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By highroad (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 17:03:13

If you think this is an issue: drive past The Good Shepherd Square (KingW/Pearl/Napier/Rae), folks. Now THAT is intensification - 2 x 8 storey buildings and a 60 bed woman's shelter all on one teensy bit of land. I guarantee this little jaunt will make you all feel much better about the condo unit being built in your neighbourhood!
Nothing like a dose of reality to bring you back down to earth.
We will all survive.

Fear is the greatest enemy of love.

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By bring it on (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 19:54:17

I live 15 seconds-pedestrian scale-distance to bayfront park and I BRING ON THE INTENSIFICATION OF THE AREA! I chose to live here because of the distance to amenities, walk 90% of the time and will not turn a nose at investment in this area. I would rather be inconvenienced slightly (if at all) so that like minded people choose to follow this path and stop stealing prime agricultural land for my sole, slight inconvenience. GIve your head a shake, quantify the value of your battle, on something more than your sole fabricated "end of the world scenario", then right back. Until then, and only then, re-consider this issue.

Thanks :o)

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 22:10:23

more great intensification news downtown:

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

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By graham (registered) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 00:01:59

pipe72 -

"Outdoor tranquility replaced with 3-floor overlooking balconies, idling cars and large scale waste disposal containers. Many houses nearby don't have driveways; where will condo visitors park?

I was just responding to your comments quoted above. I think you over state your case. Three stories isn't that high (many, many traditional Hamilton houses are 3 stories high), condo owners are, I wouldn't imagine, more prone to idling their cars, and I don't think 6 units require 'large scale waste disposal containers'.

I jumped on your bandwagon for kicks....

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By Breeze (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 11:29:36

I guarantee if a Referendum were held in the North End, the vast majority of residents would support this intensification project.

The NEN (North End Neighbours association) is turning desperatly NIMBY with every nearby investment. It's really sad. They DO NOT reflect the average Northender!

With a new Councillor on board (thank God Bratina's gone), I'm confident my true neighbours' voices will also be heard, and not just those loudest few neighbours known as the NEN.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 07, 2010 at 12:14:23

North End Nimbys?

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By nenby (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 12:52:47

official NEN stance (with some colour photos of the project):
http://northendneighbours.blogspot.com/2010_01_01_archive.html

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 13:01:08

Thanks for the link! A picture is worth a thousand words, after all.

Obviously I can't speak for the North End residents, as I don't live there. If they were to build something like that in my neighbourhood I would welcome it with open arms. It would be a nice change from the illegal triplexes and vacant properties I look at on a daily basis. Most of the homes in my neighbourhood are 2.5 story brick anyway, that is not totally the case in the North End, but I still think that the artists rendition depicts a property appropriate to the area.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 07, 2010 at 19:06:27

While I support intensification, that doesn't mean I support every project that intensifies neighbourhoods. I live a number of blocks away and can tell ya that gentrification is a real concern here. I'd love to see more people, and more money being spent at neighbourhood establishments, but if it means existing residents and establishments being displaced to make way for a better "quality" of clients. I had friends who lived in Vancouver and were evicted 3 times in one year for new demolitions and new condo projects.

Having worked for one infamous local condo (I quit promptly for gross safety violations), and knowing many who live in them (including the Mississagua towers), can tell you it's often a big racket. Building frequently halts when money runs out and investors flee - leaving derelict hulks like the Howard Johnson or the Dundurn St. Loffts. Residents are taken for a ride, financially, and often physically (I've known millionaires who ended up couch surfing for the better part of a year when they sold their homes and their condos just weren't ready yet. The construction quality is often very poor (ala Vancouver's "leaky condo" crisis). And as for parking, keep in mind that very few people around here have driveways, to the point where auto work is often done curbside. It is an issue, and it does have to be brought up. If I lived next door, I'd be worried too.

What we need is a process where neighbours can constructively raise concerns and can find constructive solutions with builders, rather than a convoluted building code/zoning process which serves neither group. The last thing we need is an intensification binge like what happened to Durand in past decades, replacing century-old homes with drab, concrete towers.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 22:19:07

Wow. Gorgeous building. This is exactly what we need more of all over the city. Great job by all involved.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 08:03:31

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 11:18:40

I was reading that article this morning. Looks like a fantasic project! Kind of funny that Dave Sauve, former President of the Ticats, can see the value of investing in the North End.

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By Gandermaan (anonymous) | Posted October 11, 2010 at 07:04:36

Durand and Kirkendall need to get some of this awesome action as well. They've been afraid of density for too long (the DNA has it in its DNA) and they have the dollars to support some adventurous architecture.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 11, 2010 at 09:24:30

FYI,

Durand is home to the first project by the Witton Lofts folks - http://herkimeratbay.com/

Kirkendall is home to the rapidly selling Urban West Condos - http://www.urbanwestcondos.com/ - by the way, Tony Grego railed against Brian McHattie for supporting this project. I guess empty Horton's stores are good for the hair-cutting industry??

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By Gandermaan (anonymous) | Posted October 11, 2010 at 14:01:47

I'll grant you Urban West (and that Greco's a loon), but I was getting more at new builds, not retrofits, though the Herkimer, which gained a half-dozen bedrooms in the process, does merit a thumbs-up for increased density. The Thistle Square development, which has been in the works for about 15 years, was more of what I was getting at.

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By Gandermaan (anonymous) | Posted October 11, 2010 at 14:16:23

Muddled above. I know that UWC is new.

Meant to ask: Any theories as to why people are so allergic to six- and seven-storey buildings?

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 11, 2010 at 17:26:26

Any theories as to why people are so allergic to six- and seven-storey buildings?

Some people are scared of light blue socks instead of dark blue. Change is scary for some people. it's easier to say "hey, my hood is pretty good. Sure it could be better, but that would mean getting creative and thinking outside the box, and I'm not up for that".

Also, I think Hamilton's expropriation craze in the 60's and 70's has left a lot of the older generation scared of any changes to their city. And for good reason. Much of what was great about Hamilton was destroyed by short sighted loonies in those two decades. We're still trying to pick up the pieces from that horrendous era.

Yes, I love the design for the Thistle Club site. Not sure what the hold-up is.

Call me crazy, but I still see a day where Hamilton builds 50-75 storey towers downtown. Not on Bay Street by the harbour or in Kirkendall, but on Main, James, Jackson, Hunter, Catharine - the mega parking lot districts that blight downtown. If Mississuaga can do it, why can't we??

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 11, 2010 at 20:51:24

Jason >> I still see a day where Hamilton builds 50-75 storey towers downtown...If Mississuaga can do it, why can't we?

Mississauga Taxes per $1,000 dollars of new investment

Residential - $9.82
Multi-Residential - $15.59
Commercial - $23.84
Industrial - $27.49

Hamilton Taxes per $1,000 dollars of new investment

Residential - $15.38
Multi-Residential - $15.38
Commercial - $41.13
Industrial - $58.42

In order to break even after yearly taxes, residential buildings need to go up in value by at least 1.538% in Hamilton, but only 0.982% in Mississauga. In other words, Mississauga is a less risky and easier place to build equity than Hamilton. Knowing this, the only way to get our fair share of condo developments and other investments is to create a more competitive tax structure.

From 2005-2009, total wages/benefits to city employees jumped by $190M annually, from $466M to $656M, or 40.77%. During this same time frame, Hamilton's population went up by 1.34%, while total Ontario wages went up by 11.69%. If we assume that Hamilton's population grew around the provincial average, it would appear that city employee wage gains were almost 4x that of taxpayers.

What if the city had a policy of linking city employee compensation to those of the taxpayer? In this scenario, city wages would have gone from $466M to $520.5M, a savings to taxpayers in 2009 of $135M.

Residential taxes account for 77% of $843M in total taxes, or $649M. If we reduce this $649M by $135M extra employee wages, it gives us a tax bill of $514M. $514M/$649M = .792. The new tax rate for residential taxpayers would now be .792 * 1.538% = 1.218%, or a savings of $640 on a 200k home/condo.

How many taxpayers would like a tax cut of $640 per year? Well, you could have it tomorrow if city workers were treated just as you are, no better, no worse.

Is it wrong to expect the government to treat taxpayers with respect?

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By TnT (registered) | Posted October 14, 2010 at 20:31:02

I take a little offense at the comments above about driving out "illegal" triplexes and absent landlords renting places for $450 a month contributing nothing to the neighbourhood. Those so called "illegal" triplexes are affordable, urban reuse. They aren't filled with criminals any more than condos are filled with model citizens. There is much more potential for people to interact in small, mixed size duplexes than in massive Toronto-style condo buildings.

Just because someone rents doesn't make them some kind of second class resident.

Comment edited by TnT on 2010-10-14 19:31:45

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