The City of Hamilton will officially begin its search for a buyer and developer for Pier 8 on April 18.
The announcement was made in France at MIPIM (Le marche international des professionnels de l’immobilier), the world’s largest real estate exhibition, by Hamilton city officials in March.
The RFQ offers private developers the opportunity to purchase and build on the 5.24 hectares of fully serviced, mixed-use lands that are integrated with a public recreational waterfront for which the city has prepared a $140-million, multi-year revitalization plan.
The site has the potential to support approximately 1,500 residential units and 13,000 square metres of commercial and institutional space on nine blocks that reach the water’s edge. The solicitation process is expected to end in 2018 with development beginning shortly after.
On the official RFQ date, a document will be released that details all of the information that interested bidders will need to submit in order to be considered for the shortlist of prequalified proponents.
Those selected will then be invited to participate in the Request for Proposals (RFP) stage that will follow later this year. The goal is to have the final preferred proponent after the RFQ and RFP processes selected by the second quarter of 2018.
"Our intent is to have the RFQ call open long enough to ensure ample time for all interested parties to assess the opportunity, strategize their team approach and thoroughly respond to the prequalification submission requirements. At a minimum, that window should be six to eight weeks. Further timing details will be clarified on April 18," said Philbert Kim, City of Hamilton senior consultant with the West Harbour Disposition Strategy.
Interested bidders are invited to submit information that substantiates their qualifications per the following criteria:
alignment with the city’s vision for Pier 8, as outlined in established planning policies;
possessing the financial capacity and stability to execute and finance a large-scale, multi-phase development;
a proven track record of executing projects similar in nature to Pier 8; and
assembling a team that has the expertise to optimize the opportunity while delivering on the city’s desired outcomes.
According to Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, the project represents the pinnacle of almost 30 years of political and financial commitments from both past and present city councils as well as other partners and levels of government.
According to a summary in the Pier 8 preliminary prospectus, "The City of Hamilton is experiencing a renaissance in recent years which is expected to remain robust as growth trends and infrastructure investments continue. Pier 8 is ideally situated and timed to benefit from these trends."
The prospectus also outlines that the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is currently experiencing growth to the tune of 3.3 million people expected to be added to the region over the next 25 years, of which 7.2 per cent, or 238,000, will choose to settle in Hamilton.
More and more homebuyers who have been priced out of Toronto have turned their eyes towards Hamilton to buy more affordable homes. Another advantage highlighted is Hamilton’s transit connectivity with Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area has significantly improved with the completion of the West Harbour GO Station. Metrolinx has also announced that GO service will be extended towards St. Catharines by 2023 with a station in Stoney Creek to be connected with West Harbour GO by 2021.
The RFQ is the next phase in the ongoing efforts to transform Hamilton’s West Harbour into a multi-use destination for both citizens and visitors, the city stated.
"Having already approved $80 million of a $140-million, multi-phase, capital investment program, city council has clearly signalled its commitment to revitalize our waterfront and advance the Pier 8 project," said Kim. "Over the next few years, visitors to the waterfront will see some significant city investments in public open space and infrastructure, all of which will benefit the private development opportunity at Pier 8."