Revitalization

A Perfect MEC Location: the Federal Building

By Sean Burak
Published October 25, 2007

(Originally published on Sean Burak's website.)

Hopefully we have been able to convince our readers - and Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) - that Hamilton would be a great place for a new store.

Not only is Hamilton a perfect spot on the city level, but there is one particular location within the city that would suit MEC so well that you'd almost think it was designed specifically for them: The Federal Building on Main Street.

The Federal Building - Location Benefits

The location of the federal building at 150 Main Street West has a lot to offer:

Centrally Located - Just one block from City Centre, and surrounded by high desnity urban residential development (mostly condos, apartment buildings and century homes converted to higher density multi-unit dwellings).

Close to numerous outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities - Minutes to the waterfront bike trails, and just several blocks from the escarpment which allows access to rail trails in each direction and connections to the Bruce Trail. Exploration of Hamiltons dozens of waterfalls is easy once you are connected to this trail system. More hiking and biking, plus canoeing is accessible only a few kilometres away in Dundas Valley and Coote's Paradise.

Federal Building well situated downtown
Federal Building well situated downtown

Accessible by various modes of transportation - The building is less than two minutes from the highway by car, and there is ample parking in the immediate area. The Hamilton GO Centre at Hunter is only 5-10 minutes from the building by foot, giving ready access to any GO train or bus user, as well as Greyhound and Canada Coach.

Almost every HSR bus stops downtown, within a zero to ten minute walk of the building. The major East-West lines stop right at its doors. Even Burlington Transit sends buses into downtown Hamilton, with stops just a block or two from the federal building.

Click for a full map showing transit and public spaces
Click for a full map showing transit and public spaces

Highly visible - The location is the flagship building on Main Street coming into the heart of Hamilton and is one of the most recognizeable buildings of its size in the city. Thousands of residents pass by daily, and most visitors to the city pass on either transit or in their cars.

Sustainability - Reclaiming part of a current urban building is more sustainable than building new. This location will be a mixed use facility with newly renovated condos in the levels above, and could be a perfect example of how residential and retail can live in harmony.

By locating near an urban core, MEC will reinforce its stance as a company who cares about the environment by choosing locations that are readuly accessible by transit, instead of taking the car-centric route of building in the middle of a sea of parking next to a highway.

  • Located in an area of the city that's experiencing regrowth.

    Compatibility - The surrounding lands have recently been aquired for brand new retail development:

    Click for a full map showing existing and new development in the area
    Click for a full map showing existing and new development in the area

    The building itself

    Highly visible along the main corridor into the city, the former Revenue Canada building is a beautiful structure with a stunning main floor that is perfectly suited to a retail establishment the size of MEC. Even down to the wildlife motif carved into the stone at the entrance, the location screams "Outdoors Store". Visualizing this building with a MEC on the main floor, Residential condos above, and topped with a green roof -- one cannot imagine a more perfect combination.

    Approaching Eastbound on Main
    Approaching Eastbound on Main

    Entrance off Main Street
    Entrance off Main Street

    Concrete reliefs on each side of the main entrance
    Concrete reliefs on each side of the main entrance

    Address detail above main entrance
    Address detail above main entrance

    Inside of the main floor - a blank canvas!
    Inside of the main floor - a blank canvas!

    The cornerstone
    The cornerstone

    So grand!
    So grand!

    Sean Burak was born in Hamilton but raised elsewhere in Ontario. He returned to his birth town at the turn of the century and has never looked back. Sean is the owner of Downtown Bike Hounds.

    10 Comments

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    By Frank (registered) | Posted October 25, 2007 at 15:11:36

    Every time I order from MEC I have to get it shipped in. I recently purchased upwards of 500 dollars worth of gear and shipping costs just plain suck. Having one close by would be great. Not only that, we only have the one outlet on Dundurn that's worth visiting, everything else is Canadian Tire or worse. I'd love it! Bring MEC here!

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    By Frank (registered) | Posted October 25, 2007 at 15:13:20

    Forgot the places in Dundas and by Limeridge Mall. Knowledgeable staff but not able to match the MEC price point or available merchandise.

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    By peter (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2007 at 16:09:47

    thanks for the effort. if only darko worked as hard as you.

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    By sean (registered) | Posted October 25, 2007 at 18:40:29

    does darko own the fed building or is he just leasing the upper floors from the city?

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    By jason (registered) | Posted October 25, 2007 at 20:21:21

    he owns it. the main floor is the holdup on this project. he can't figure out what to do with it. condos don't work with windows opening onto a highway. too big for restaurant. it was made for MEC. perfect fit.

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    By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 26, 2007 at 09:28:15

    re: the smaller outdoor stores

    in any city with a mec, smaller stores leech off of it. if mec goes downtown it will pull all those smaller stores in like magnet, they will all want to be within walking distance of mec. thing about mec is.. it brings a lot of people in, but whatever they carry, that's all you can get. the smaller stores offer specialized products and services and survive quite well if they are a stone's throw away...

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    By highwater (registered) | Posted October 26, 2007 at 10:46:44

    What do you think the chances are of them locating here now that they're in Burlington?

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    By jason (registered) | Posted October 26, 2007 at 16:14:31

    highwater....read the above post and associated info. There's a chance that they aren't going to Burlington so Hamilton city hall and Sean are pulling out all the stops to get them to come here instead.

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    By fanc3 (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2007 at 17:37:33

    I saw MEC transform what was one of the worst parts of Ottawa into a bustling and extremely desireable neighbourhood within the span of 5 years.

    Westboro (which was once very similar to downtown Hamilton) is now one of the most sought-after areas to live in ever since MEC moved in. MEC not only brought in customers, but it brought in other small businesses (and the two independent outdoor stores which were already there are still doing brisk business today). Builders are fighting over space to build condos in the area. Transportation to the Westboro area is via the OC Transpo transitway, making the location extremely accessible.

    It would be great to see the revitalization effects of MEC on the downtown Hamilton core...

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    By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 26, 2007 at 20:16:07

    yep! and such a waste to see them move into a lot in burlington where most of the surrounding land is highway ramp right-of-ways that can never be developed...

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