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Massive waterfront development project to set sail in Hamilton

Dena Fehir
Massive waterfront development project to set sail in Hamilton

HAMILTON—With Parks Canada recently handing over the Pier 8 land to the City of Hamilton, staff and developers are eager to begin an ambitious redevelopment project to the tune of over $500 million in new private-sector investment for multi-residential and commercial development.

"The City of Hamilton is committed to bringing the Piers 5-8 and ‘Barton-Tiffany’ lands within Hamilton’s West Harbour to a state of development (to be) ready by the end of 2018," said Chris Phillips, the city’s lead for the West Harbour redevelopment plan.

The 3.3 hectare space already houses waterfront restaurant Sarcoa, a cafe, trail and skating rink. Now with the land transfer, the city is aiming for a boutique hotel, more restaurants and 1,600 units in new condos, townhouses and other businesses.

"Interest from the development industry and financial investment market has been very strong. Many large-scale developers from Hamilton, Toronto and the GTHA (Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area) have shown tremendous interest," said Phillips.

He also said the city has been promoting "these unique urban waterfront lands to foreign investors; first at MIPIM, a renowned global real estate conference that takes place each March in France, as well city staff were promoting these key assets and development opportunities at a series of investment tours and conferences that took place in conjunction with the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games."

An area of concern among real estate brokers is a maximum four-storey building height restriction.

According to Phillips, there is a four-storey limit on Piers 6 and 7 for commercial village buildings. Barton-Tiffany, which will be mixed-use residential and commercial varies between four and eight storey height limits. On Pier 8, for multi-use residential buildings, there is an eight-storey building limit.

Another issue is public transportation to the area, with a new city report suggesting the north-south spur line could be extended all the way to the waterfront as part of the province’s promise to inject $1-billion into light rail transit (LRT) construction in Hamilton.

After an LRT update was recently released, Mayor Fred Eisenberger called it, "the ideal vision that makes sense and in my mind it’s doable."

As for logistics, Phillips said, "a comprehensive traffic study for Pier 8 will be completed and a parking study will (also) be completed for the entire Piers 5-8 including both the private-sector developments and enhanced public spaces and uses."

Now that the transfer is complete, it is expected that council will receive a real estate marketing strategy that includes the new property in October.

In other federal cash injections for Hamilton, Ottawa is providing $2.61 million for infrastructure projects in the area from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program.

Among the investments from Ottawa are:

— $541,126 toward the $1.6 million renovation of the Binbrook Memorial Hall and the former Glanford Township hall in Mount Hope;

— $457,875 toward a $1.3 million expansion of the Ancaster Aquatic Centre’s change room;

— $280,000 toward a $960,000 project to restore the 138-year-old St. Mark’s Church, which the city bought in 1994 to save from demolition;

— $92,862 to put toward a $225,000 project to restore and expand the Fifty Point Conversation Area Bridge and Trail in Stoney Creek;

— $68,265 toward a $205,000 project to expand the Griffin House in Ancaster; and

— $42,214 for the Hamilton Conservation Authority to put toward a $102,500 project to restore Westfield’s 1845 schoolhouse.

The Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program is designed to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017 and was unveiled in Ottawa in May.

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