Comment 84274

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted December 20, 2012 at 19:35:16

Hamilton's Demolition Derby

The only way one can put an end to this madness is to convince the local Architects and Engineers to stop taking on work from such developers -- which we all know, will be next to impossible.

So the next best thing to do is to expose those architects and Engineers who help such developers and organizations in destroying heritage buildings in the name of progress - and then walk around the high-art circuit of Hamilton with a wine glass in their hand, talking like geniuses about urban revitalization and urban living.

Proposing a concept for discussion with the community is one thing when details are not yet finalized.

Applying for demolition permit even before a sensible concept is finalized is downright shameful behaviour. Such acts only reveal the level of contempt one holds for the local community.

It sure must take a huge amount of ego to propose a figure of $120 Million without having a bloody clue as to what the development would entail.

Real-estate agents and Real-estate developers are two different mind-sets.

Very few real estate agents have been able to make the crossover to successful developments outside of suburban tract-housing or speculative box construction. This is because, a sales agent's mindset is simply incapable of handling the subtle nuances both architectural and financial, for complex urban developments of such magnitude.

The victims as always, are urban residents whose emotions are yanked around with predictable premature announcements, hyped up financial projections and brinkmanship to level buildings.

All serious developers in most cities that I am aware, make a sincere effort to engage the local community in the pre-planning process of projects of such magnitude - as there is a very serious financial responsibility to construction lenders that comes into play with such undertakings. There is no room for error, whims or fancy footwork once a project is announced.

A project conceived with such bravado, supported by an inside-clique of drum beaters in the local media, is simply not ready for show time, let alone a freaking demolition permit - which itself has restriction imposed by the city to ensure that no parking lots materialize on flattened lands.

So what is the agenda here? real, meaningful development? or more tom foolery, which this city has developed a reputation for?

$120 Million divided by $200 per square foot for construction cost, results in 600,000 square feet of developed property. Can the downtown absorb such square footage of yet to be defined space? Can the downtown absorb another market after the one that has already been announced recently?

And at what sale value? $400 per square foot? - considering the re-payment of interest and capital over time it take to construct and sell? So, will a unit of 750 square foot at $400/sq.ft amounting to $300,000 per avg unit, sell the 800 odd units that would accrue from 600,000 square feet of development at $120 million?

And was the $120 Million figure thrown around in the press the cost of construction? or the sales projection?

Most developments start with a solid market study, then design schematic and community consultation, then final designs & financial projections.

Here, we have: the end number first, which sounds great: $120 Million!! and no clue as to what is to be built. And by the way, a demolition permit,which is absolutely essential, since we are so prone to working in reverse in Hamilton.

This site in all probability is getting ready to be sold as a vacant parcel to anyone who will ride into town on a white horse, and who knows what s/he is doing... just as were those hundred flattened sites scattered across the downtown core, which are still awaiting the rider on the horse to come and save downtown.

Mahesh P. Butani

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-12-20 20:29:35

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