Letter: Business Demand for Adaptive Reuse in Downtown Hamilton

By Letter to the Editor
Published July 30, 2013

I have been following the issue of the proposed demolition of buildings 18-28 on King Street East in Hamilton's downtown core. Recently I read an interview with the property owner that raises some serious concern.

It seems that Wilson-Blanchard has no redevelopment plan, has no intentions on preserving the historical importance of the buildings, and is driven by self-interest rather than urban renewal and revitalization.

I am a business person and understand the need to make decisions based on profit with an eye on the bottom line, but these decisions are generally based on more than purely profit.

The downtown has been a victim of exactly this kind of attack since the 1960s, where progress comes in the form tearing down our history. These buildings deserve to be designated. Developers like Blanchard should not be permitted to do this without a redevelopment plan and community consultation.

I would love the opportunity to move my business to the Gore, and have in fact looked into purchasing in the past. But developers buy these buildings up, sit on them and wait until they become so decrepit that it makes more sense to take them down.

As stated in a recent RTH article, "In fact, his own market research indicates that there is a relatively strong market for adaptive reuse of existing buildings and a weak market for the kind of high-cost, large-footprint commercial development he proposes for the Gore."

There is a market demand for this type of building by small business owners like myself in the city. I would jump at the chance to bring one of these beautiful buildings back from life support. Sadly, because I cannot move as quickly as developers can, my good intentions mean nothing.

Tyler Cowie
CEO, Factor[e] Design Initiative

Tell Council and the Province to designate the Gore and protect these buildings from demolition:

mtrmclco@ontario.ca, mchan.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org>, Bob.Bratina@hamilton.ca, Brian.McHattie@hamilton.ca, Jason.Farr@hamilton.ca, Bernie.Morelli@hamilton.ca, Sam.Merulla@hamilton.ca, Chad.Collins@hamilton.ca, Tom.Jackson@hamilton.ca, Scott.Duvall@hamilton.ca, Terry.Whitehead@hamilton.ca, Brad.Clark@hamilton.ca, Maria.Pearson@hamilton.ca, Brenda.Johnson@hamilton.ca, Lloyd.Ferguson@hamilton.ca, Russ.Powers@hamilton.ca, Robert.Pasuta@hamilton.ca, Judi.Partridge@hamilton.ca, kevin.finnerty@ontario.ca, Peter.armstrong@ontario.ca, tamara.ansoncartwright@ontario.ca, tmcMeekin.mpp@liberal.ola.org, ahorwath-co@ndp.on.ca

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By Another Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2013 at 10:31:24

No matter what side of this issue your on (heritage etc) I've known for years that this owner has been trying to find any excuse to knock all of these buildings down. There are no concrete plans, no tenants. He is probably trying to parcel vacant land, in the hopes of something happening down the road.

If I'm not mistaken, was there not some sort of by-law or regulation or something, stating that when a Draft plan was approved or building permit etc then you can knock down a non-heritage designated building (this, in the downtown core)

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By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted July 30, 2013 at 19:41:39

Perhaps they're self-loathing politicians. Perhaps they're the types who don't believe they deserve the power they wield. You know, libertarian stuff. Or perhaps they're just weak. Tough call.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 30, 2013 at 21:56:25 in reply to Comment 90564

Or perhaps they're just weak


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