By Jason Leach
Published August 03, 2007
Hamilton, although never having experienced the levels of devastation and decline as Buffalo, has much to learn from our neighbour across the river.
They are currently experiencing an urban renaissance and interest in their downtown much like Hamilton.
However, architecturally, our cities are light years apart. Buffalo is developing mixed-use buildings that capture the design and feel of their industrial heritage, with streetfront shops, large windows and a very cool, urban flair in their design.
Hamilton's newest downtown projects currently under construction look promising on paper the Terraces on King and the five storey mixed-use building at King and John but we are nowhere near experiencing the critical mass of well-designed projects that Buffalo is.
The next round of downtown loan programs [PDF] was unveiled this week and there are some promising projects that we should all watch closely.
Most notable are the four to six storey infill project next to Acclamation on James North and the seven storey infill project at Rebecca and Hughson.
Many projects are just beginning and soon-to-start in the Main West/Hess area. No designs have been made available yet, but the potential exists to radically redesign this drab entrance to our city.
New condos, hotels, commercial projects and office space are all coming to this area. Will Hamilton settle for the blank walls and big boxness that surround our city, or will we learn from Buffalo and elevate the image of our city through great architecture?
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