20 Jackson Demolition Rumour is Just a Rumour - For Now

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 09, 2013

this blog entry has been updated

For months I've been hearing a rumour that the owner of 20 Jackon Street West plans to demolish it to make room for a parking lot. The rumour surfaced again last week, and I asked Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr if he would look into it.

He had heard the rumour as well, and he contacted the City's Planning and Building departments to inquire. As of right now, no demolition permit has been applied for or issued.

Farr also quoted the response from Steve Robichaud, the manager from Planning: "Correct, under the zoning bylaw the use of the property for a commercial parking lot is not permitted."

Farr added:

They would never be able to put a surface parking spot there. As you know, we have a moratorium. I would never endorse a surface lot if they asked for an exemption. We will likely require a parking structure when the [Downtown] Parking review come back, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. That will likely be in July.

Farr clarified that the city has hired a consultant to review the parking situation in downtown Hamilton, and it will be presented to councillors in a few months. He also stated, "[The parking review] will not affect the moratorium on surface lots."

It almost sounds from Farr's comments as though the building at 20 Jackson may be considered as a site for a multi-level parking structure once the parking review is complete.

However, in a follow-up email, Farr clarified, "I didn't mean to confuse the issue with the parkade. The fact is, the owners of the building have not applied for a demo, nor have they called me back yet with their intentions."

It seems possible that the parking review will indicate we need a multi-level parking garage downtown, and that approval will consequently be given to demolish 20 Jackson to make room for it.

Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but given the painfully regressive decisions coming out of City Hall of late, it would not surprise me in the least to see the city approve the demolition of 20 Jackson to make room for a multi-level parking lot.

We definitely need to keep a close watch on this. It would be insane to demolish a perfectly serviceable, occupied multi-floor office with retail on the main floor right next to the City Hall parking lot in order to build a parking garage.

Update: Due to a misunderstanding, this blog entry originally attributed Councillor Farr's first extended quotation to Steve Robichaud. You can jump to the updated attribution. RTH regrets the error. The blog entry was also updated to add follow-up comments from Farr clarifying what he meant by his earlier comment. You can jump to the added paragraph.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By Cynic (anonymous) | Posted May 09, 2013 at 12:49:44

Tim to change the city slogan fomr
Hamilton the best place to raise a child
Hamilton the best place to park.

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted May 09, 2013 at 13:13:54

"Rest assured that they will never be able to put a parking lot there -- until we mandate it later this summer."

It is unclear as yet if the parking structure will have a bridge attached.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 09, 2013 at 13:29:46

Ummm, call me crazy, but if they need a multi-level parking garage (which, I for one would like to see half a dozen built downtown, along with street parking on every street, and suck the life out of the surface lot industry) why not build on the parking lot right behind City Hall??

If you're gonna demolish any perfectly functioning building for a parking garage, please make it the Bank of Montreal at Main/Bay.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted May 09, 2013 at 19:08:48 in reply to Comment 88537

I agree with the right behind City Hall. Espcially since the lot behind it is effectively already a multi-level parking lot given the top lot on hunter and the bottom lot accessible by Jackson and Bay. I would strike me and actuall efficient place to have a multifloor lot, with an elevator for the high back enterance of city hall.

As far as BMO, it does leave something to be desired. I honestly wish Banks didn't build crap like this and went back to building banks like the old BMO at James & Main. It's not like they don't have the scrap to do it.

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By Official Building Quality Inspector (anonymous) | Posted May 09, 2013 at 13:33:41

"Perfectly serviceable" Looks like a turd to me.

Not sayin a parking lot would be better, just sayin.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted May 09, 2013 at 13:35:07

Glad to see some more insight into this. It would be crazy to demolish this building when the city owns many surface parking lots. Besides being horrible from an urban design perspective, such a move would cost money to acquire the land and eliminate tax revenue from the current privately owned building.

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By ENBertussi (registered) - website | Posted May 09, 2013 at 18:10:55

It needs to be made abundantly clear that the public will and public desire is to only allow for subterranean parking accommodation.

Above ground parking structures are ancient asinine and afford no architectural contribution to the community and destroy walkability.

There are ridiculous parking garage pre-fab panel association cults that go around giving architectural awards to cities that build them citing good design. This is the case with the abomination in Burlington on Locust by the new performing arts centre. Instead of building several stories of underground parking the new performing arts centre does not even have a basement, it was nearly built like a building would be in the flat desert with just foundation walls for frost line compliance.

905 Might not be downtown 416, but it must be proactive in protecting land space from the abomination of surface parking and above ground parking structures...

It's high time we cease worshipping automotive culture furnishing policy dictum to city hall that requests them to instate a full on moratorium on not just surface parking but as well above ground parkades would be a logical step to take post haste.

Enough of this subsidisation of fossil fuel auto sprawl culture. People of Hamilton you must furnish your politicians with policy dictum so that they can with great ease put into effect laws that speak to human interest and not alone corporate interests. lobby them like the corporations that have stolen our farm land flooded our east end basements and destroyed the core with one way streets so you can quickly pass from one mall to another in your auto-mobile. Draw for your fellow citizen vivid images of what places like 20 Jackson would look like with another 20 stories above ground and 6-10 below ground to accommodate parking, the only way parking should be accommodated in the core of any would-be urban happy place for humans that need curb side interest and walkability....

vivid, rich, dreams, just like developers draw, just like the Tactical urban people have rendered...


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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted May 09, 2013 at 19:03:31

For a parking lot, I would fight this demolition tooth and nail.

To replace it with a 7 storey or greater condo unit with underground parking and eliminating the exsisting surface parking along MacNab. You couldn't tear down that mix of glass and concrete quick enough.

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By hammered (anonymous) | Posted May 10, 2013 at 07:00:14 in reply to Comment 88565

You've got a real hard-on for demolition, don't you.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted May 12, 2013 at 11:19:44 in reply to Comment 88583

If it means breaking the low density, less then 5 floor paradigm in our core, on buildings which hold little to no historical value or architectural uniqueness/merit then yes, I suppose I do.

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