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By BeHappyAndCarryOn (anonymous) | Posted July 10, 2013 at 14:37:09
"Brinkmanship is the ostensible escalation of threats in order to achieve one's aims."
Brinkmanship at the Gore:
Primary Aim: To extract a much taller building/s on Main/James for any future development.
Secondary Aim: To extract any extras or freebies over and above the already available facade restoration grant, and the residential conversion loans in exchange for the heroic saving of the four buildings on King.
Supplementary case for financial help for restoration, thru year long charade: You don't understand, the cost of restoring such buildings or the facade is super, super high! (When in fact this is not the case at all).
With all the attention this has got the owners, they will then easily package the empty lots on Main/James and sell it with the soon to be expected 'exciting news' (i.e. written assurance from the city that they can build 30-40 floors and beyond. Current zoning allows 22 meters heights which is only around 7 to 8 floors).
PRIME BENEFICIARIES OF THIS CHARADE:
1) Property Owners, who now do not have to go thru expensive zoning/variance process, as things will be simply pre-zoned in exchange for saving the facades. They get to build super high on Main/James, and get money + concessions from city to keep the buildings on King.
2) Councillor Farr, who stands to look like a just-in-time hero for 2014. He is already being acknowledged as the guy who saved the day twice. Remember he showed up at the last possible minute to save two of the four buildings around Christmas, and now again he surfaces to prevent the demolition even after the fence went up.*
COST OF CHARADE:
1) Cost of application for demolition permit: $35
2) Cost of 2 renderings: $500 (discounted further by designer in anticipation of future work)
3) Cost of renting chain link fence: $3000
4) Cost of engineering report (i.e. Building condition study): $4000
5) Cost of independent review of report: $4000-$10,000 (which will have to be paid by city tax payers since Clr Farr and not the owners, has asked for this*).
COST OF MEDIA BUZZ: Free
LOSS OF RENTAL INCOME FROM EVICTIONS: Negligible. As any loss is promptly offset by an application for commercial vacancy tax reduction, which has to have been filed before February deadline. Keeping the above units commercial and vacant suits the owner as they enjoy tax breaks. Were the above units promptly converted to residential, back when the buildings were purchased, they would not have been able to leverage them for the huge windfall that awaits them now, as all the converted live/work loft units on upper floors facing the Gore would have been rented out very fast, and there would be no leverage left for causing this brinkmanship.
Any one who was serious about demolition and rebuilding these buildings would have gotten on with the act of tearing them down with the permit in hand and a plan drawn up for the new buildings.
Besides, take a close look at the wimpy fence put up with a lane open to walk by the buildings. Do you really think this is what is put up when buildings really come down?
Brinkmanship at the Gore was the only option left as there were no real plans for rebuilding, just a desire to make money by any means necessary via parceling the block and adding value by way of the now anticipated permission from the city to build much higher than what was zoned.
This has just been a charade from the beginning for the owner with no vision, with the happy addition of a compliant councillor in whose laps fell this golden opportunity for political opportunism. Now:
A) The owner gets to extract favours for super tall buildings on Main and James, and possibly some free money from the city to keep the older buildings on Gore.
B) The Councillor gets to look like a super hero for the coming election. Remember, he has already been dishing out tons of free fishing rods and skates to poor kids. Now, his big Heritage save will put him over the top as far as heroic deeds are concerned.
Happy Pill in Hamilton:
Of course, now that all the buildings are almost saved (but not sure yet!), by the 'Voice of the People' as Clr Farr says***, We the people of Hamilton, will only be too eager to say: "Just Be Happy And Carry On", our heritage was saved by civic activism and the councillor's leadership.
You really cannot fight greed, and political charades, such things are farr too sophisticated and always win in the end. We just have to learn to 'be happy and carry on' like we mean it.
Be Happy And Carry On!
* Farr told The Spectator. "At this point, I can say that there won't be a demolition in the imminent future. We're working on a solution."
** Farr has also requested an independent peer review of Blanchard's engineering report of the properties "as an immediate next step."
***Farr credited the community's effort with helping to delay any potential demolition.
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