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View Full Version : ST. CATHARINES-NIAGARA FALLS | Niagara Region Development Thread



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mucciared
Nov 7, 2006, 10:53 PM
I like your site Fallsview, but I tried posting a comment and for some reason wouldn't let me. I can't believe you've done all that within the past couple days!!

Anyway my question is when did you speak with Jorge Leiva?? Have you talked with anyone from CNH as it's their project? I wonder what they would have to say.

FALLSVIEW
Nov 9, 2006, 5:44 PM
I was hoping you would post on my site mucciared, same with drafty. I could be wrong but you may have to register to post, just like on here. Try that and see if it works. I double checked all my settings and I have it set for anyone to post, I just moderate them first. If that doesn't work e/mail me a comment and I can copy and paste it for you if you like.

To awnser your question about the Westin, I spoke with him after I received an e/mail with his number. The information he gave me was that the hotel was still slated for completion in 2008? Seems impossible! I haven't spoken to anyone @ CNH yet.

Tony I love this site so I will continue to post , I just want to focus on putting more detail into my own blog.

Local Attraction coming down!

DEVELOPMENT BLOG LINK: SCENIC RIDE HAS TAKEN ITS LAST RIDE! (http://niagarafallsdevelopmentsproposal.blogspot.com/2006/11/goodbye-to-long-standing-attraction.html)


Grand Niagara Update...

DEVELOPMENT BLOG LINK: ROADS TO BE CLOSED FOR DEVELOPMENT! (http://niagarafallsdevelopmentsproposal.blogspot.com/2006/11/grand-niagara-resorts-update.html)

WHISTLERINMUSKOKA
Nov 9, 2006, 10:56 PM
Any pictures of the Sky Wheel?

FALLSVIEW
Nov 10, 2006, 6:58 PM
Any pictures of the Sky Wheel?

About Travel Link: NIAGARA SkyWheel (http://themeparks.about.com/od/themeparksphotogalleries/ig/Niagara-SkyWheel/SkyWheel-on-the-Skyline.htm)



DEVELOPMENT BLOG LINK: FINE GERMAN RESTAURANT "UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP" (http://niagarafallsdevelopmentsproposal.blogspot.com/2006/11/under-new-ownership.html)

DEVELOPMENT BLOG LINK: MAPLESHADE RESIDENCES (http://niagarafallsdevelopmentsproposal.blogspot.com/2006/11/mapleshade-residences-coming-soon.html)

mucciared
Nov 11, 2006, 4:46 AM
Hey Fallsview,

I'll be away for about ten days on conference so I'll have to try posting a comment once I return, in the meantime make sure Niagara doesn't announce anything big without me :P

drafty
Nov 11, 2006, 7:02 PM
Has anyone noticed that the Skylon doesn't have their lights up for the Festival of Lights. You know, the strands that went from top to bottom and turned them into the "world's largest Christmas tree". Granted, it's been the same lights since the festival started, but it had become a sort of icon for the festival and pictures of it were always seen in promotion material.
Well, the story goes that the Yerich's thought that they should do something newer and better for this year so they didn't put up the old lights. However, in true Skylon fashion, they either couldn't decide what to do, or left it too late, or it was too expensive or something. So, we end up with the usual - nothing. This family is just so pathetic when it comes to plans becoming actions.

Speaking of the Festival of Lights, I am always disappointed every year that none of the major hospitality companies in the city make any physical contributions to the festival. Surely HOCO, Canadian Niagara, Niagara 21st, Niagara Hospitality, etc. could afford to do something at their properties to add to what the NPC does. Even some extra lighting on the high rises or lasers, or something. Bigger and better can only help draw more people.

FALLSVIEW
Nov 12, 2006, 4:36 AM
That's funny drafty, I was asking my wife the exact same question about the skylon lights not up this year, and we brought our girls to see the lights last weekend and were suprised how the Hilton and the Casino have nothing to add to the festival.

architect1
Nov 18, 2006, 2:26 AM
I want some one to keep the posting for the new hilton. i remember working there and serving the investers that day and since then I have been waiting and waiting to hear more. I also want to see that dennys get destroyed.

FALLSVIEW
Nov 18, 2006, 6:57 AM
Believe me architect1. The day I see heavy equipment on that site, I'll be snapping pictures and it will most certainly be posted on here!! Click on my signature as well for any updates on the Hilton. Right now nothing is going on.

realcity
Nov 18, 2006, 9:38 PM
Skylon has new plans for lights. Just wait. it'll be world-class.

drafty
Nov 18, 2006, 10:57 PM
Do you know what year these lights will appear?

'Skylon' and 'world class' in the same paragraph. Who woulda thought.

Sorry for being so negative about the Skylon. Years of habit.

realcity
Nov 20, 2006, 5:28 PM
No I don't know the timeline. I can't say, other than it will be spectacular. Think fire, lasers, and LED.

FALLSVIEW
Nov 20, 2006, 11:12 PM
I'm kind of with drafty on this one realcity, unless you can somehow convince us otherwise, I just don't see this company sincerely pushing through with any of the projects they have proposed in the past. I can tell you that people are more than a little frustrated around here with the lights not coming down off of the tower this year, it was a big part of the festival. And people are starting to figure this company out, I think their grace period has officially ended!!!

FALLSVIEW
Nov 21, 2006, 3:40 PM
Tourist numbers still falling
Local businesspeople confirm disturbing trend reported by Statistics Canada

JENNIFER PELLEGRINI
Local News - Tuesday, November 21, 2006 Updated @ 7:07:50 AM

Affordable meals and accommodation and aggressive advertising in the rubber-tire market are what's needed to stem the tide of Canadians flooding across the river on holiday while Americans spend their vacation dollars at home.

That's the opinion of one hospitality industry insider, Silvio Garofalo, manager of the Beef Baron on Centre Street.

"Niagara Falls needs to, I feel, start looking in their own backyards before they start marketing outside the area," said Garofalo.

Like many restaurants in the city, the Beef Baron has noticed a decline in American visitors since 2001.

"It's not like what it used to be. Before 9/11, it was just Americans. After all the rhetoric and the nonsense happening around the world, all of that has changed," he said.

According to Statistics Canada, which releases tourism industry information each month, trips to Canada declined in six of Canada's 12 largest markets, including the United States, in September.

It was the seventh month in 2006 that saw a dip in the number of Americans crossing the border.

The statistics report showed just 2.4 million Americans reported overnight stays in Canada in September, a decline of 0.6 per cent over August, and 1.1 million Americans took a day trip to Canada - a decline of 0.9 per cent over the month before.

Japan's figure was even worse: The number of Japanese visitors to Canada declined by 9.
6 per cent in September, the largest single decline in the report.

The only bright spot on the horizon was China. A record-high 14,000 Chinese nationals travelled to Canada in September, a 13.7 per cent increase over August's figure.

Garofalo said it's time for industry insiders to think differently about how they're going to attract tourists.

"Whatever it takes, make Niagara Falls a year-round destination, starting with making it a lot more affordable."

He believes with competition from resorts angling to lure people south of the border - especially in the winter - the city has to do more to bring people to Canada.

Luring the lucrative dollars from families in Toronto and other parts of southern Ontario will help boost tourism numbers throughout the year, he said.

But the industry has to look at its own image and define itself as a place to go whatever the weather, in order to make it appealing and affordable to people who decide on the spur of the moment to visit the Honeymoon Capital of the World.

"The problem is, because of the short season, (tourism operators) look to make as much as they can. I'm not saying cut your own throat, but I am saying to make this as affordable as possible. If the City of Niagara Falls and the heavy hitters came together to make this a year-round destination ... the return will be better for the city," Garofalo said.

Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce president Carolyn Bones said the government also has to intervene, funding marketing programs so the city can promote itself in Ontario, the "rubber-tire" market of New York State, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and throughout the rest of North America and the world.

"My first reaction on hearing the news is my thoughts turned to the federal government rescinding the program for GST rebates for visitors to Canada," said Bones.

It's doubtful the government's Sept. 26 announcement to scrap the GST rebate for visitors had much impact on travellers to Canada for much of the month. But Bones said news like that doesn't make tourists feel as though Canada welcomes them - or their billions of vacation dollars - particularly as the country, and this city, struggle to recover from three difficult years.

"I don't think it's appropriate for them to be rescinding the program and the Statistics Canada results released (Monday) confirm that," she said.

jpellegrini@nfreview.com

Tourism: by the numbers

Canada's tourism industry has suffered several blows in recent years - from the effects of Sept. 11, 2001 to confusion over the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security's requirement for American travellers to have passports when they re-enter the country at land borders.

Here's a snapshot of Canada's travel industry, provided by Statistics Canada. The numbers reflect the period between January and March 2006.

- An estimated 617,000 overseas visitors travelled to Canada between January and March 2006, a 0.5 per cent decline over the same time in 2005.

- Visitors from the U.K. came to Canada more frequently than any other country. In the first quarter of 2006, 125,000 U.K. residents travelled to Canada.

- Japan had the second-largest number of overseas vistors, with 60,000.

- Overall, overseas visitors spent $816 million in Canada - an 8.1 per cent decline in spending over the first three months of 2005.

- Washington State had the largest number of U.S. visitors to Canada - 291,000 in the first quarter of 2006, compared to 303,000 in the same time last year. New York was next (268,000/283,000), followed by Michigan (251,000/288,000), Pennsylvania (80,000/103,000), Massachusetts (79,000/91,000), Ohio (77,000/81,000), Maine (57,000/63,000), Illinois (52,000/58/000) amd New Jersey (48,000/56,000). Only Californians increased their number of visits to Canada in the first quarter of 2006 - 121,000, compared to 108,000 in 2005, an 11.9 per cent increase.

I agree with the points that Silvio Garofalo made in regards to affordability! I live here, and I quarantee I would spend more on my kids in the tourist district, if I could afford it. NF needs to find a new marketing strategy, they need to be looking outside of the US a little more.

Tony
Nov 21, 2006, 4:31 PM
"The problem is, because of the short season, (tourism operators) look to make as much as they can. I'm not saying cut your own throat, but I am saying to make this as affordable as possible. If the City of Niagara Falls and the heavy hitters came together to make this a year-round destination ... the return will be better for the city," Garofalo said.


That pretty well sums it up well. Time to offer some good discount packages and ramp up the Festival of Lights (including fixing the blown out lights :P _ and create new Winter Activities.

drafty
Nov 21, 2006, 5:01 PM
I agree also Fallsview. As I ranted on your site, the restaurant chains here drive me crazy. Their prices are so inflated compared to other locations that it is ridiculous. I have had the exact same meal in an Applebees in Buffalo and in the one at the Oakes. In the U.S. it was $9.99 and here it was $21.99. Locals just won't go to these places, and obviously, tourists are starting to do the same.
Restaurants, hotels and attractions absolutely have to start giving better value for the tourists dollar if they hope to survive. All the tourist forums make the point that Niagara Falls is a very expensive place, which must be a major deterent for choosing Niagara as a vacation destination.
The other thing that they have to do is start treating locals like potential customers. If restaurants offered locals discounts (and I mean 25%-50%; not 5%-10%), then they would have a lot more business in the slow months.
I think the gouging days are over and the tourist industry has to start seeing that.

FALLSVIEW
Nov 21, 2006, 11:06 PM
Absolutely drafty and Tony, this is at a point where all I ever here anymore is how expensive this place is. And honestly for Americans, they have so many more affordably priced destinations, that are far superior to NF... excluding the Falls themselves. This place is pretty good for tourists, but it isn't exactly the cats ass in most peoples opinion. NF needs to realize that they're fighting for tourist dollars with every destination in the world. They were riding a high a few years ago with the new Casino and every developer coming out of the woodwork with a proposed highrise! The perfect storm has occured here ie.. 9-11, SARS, NO COMMITMENT IN IRAQ, HIGH CANADIAN DOLLAR, HIGH GAS PRICES, PASSPORT LAW, EXPENSIVE DESTINATION. The latter being the only one that the city can deal with, hopefully they do!

realcity
Nov 24, 2006, 3:26 PM
I'm kind of with drafty on this one realcity, unless you can somehow convince us otherwise, I just don't see this company sincerely pushing through with any of the projects they have proposed in the past. I can tell you that people are more than a little frustrated around here with the lights not coming down off of the tower this year, it was a big part of the festival. And people are starting to figure this company out, I think their grace period has officially ended!!!


I wish I could tell you everything i know. But I can't risk it.

You will hear big announcements soon. Once the deals are inked would be more appropriate.

realcity
Nov 24, 2006, 3:29 PM
That pretty well sums it up well. Time to offer some good discount packages and ramp up the Festival of Lights (including fixing the blown out lights :P _ and create new Winter Activities.


That's exactly what needs to be done. A 12 month season. The Falls is getting there, GWL is one example although that doesn't encourage people to leave. Toronto's tourist season is fine in the winter, theatre, shopping, hotel packages. The falls are just as or more impressive to see in the winter IMO.

FALLSVIEW
Nov 24, 2006, 3:52 PM
SPACE SPIRAL TOWER OFFICIALLY GONE!

http://img300.imageshack.us/img300/1615/niagaradevelopmentsb094vi2.jpg
http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/9602/niagaradevelopmentsb097bz1.jpg
http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/4272/niagaradevelopmentsb098kb3.jpg
http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/4678/niagaradevelopmentsb110ar3.jpg
http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/9505/niagaradevelopmentsb107er7.jpg

Tony
Nov 24, 2006, 4:00 PM
Oh well... at least there's the Wheel!

FALLSVIEW
Nov 24, 2006, 4:30 PM
I wish I could tell you everything i know. But I can't risk it.

You will hear big announcements soon. Once the deals are inked would be more appropriate.

I can respect your anonymity Realcity, so I wont ask any details. But are you talking about the fire, lasers, and LED for the Festival of Lights or are you talking about actual developments on their property?

There is work being done at the Holiday Inn regarding a kitchen being installed?
http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/5663/niagaradevelopmentsb077tk8.jpg

agrigentum
Nov 24, 2006, 10:59 PM
Sorry for the change of topic but I just read this in today's Standard:



Copied from www.stcatharinesstandard.ca web site Friday, November 24, 2006 - © 2006 St. Catharines Standard
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wal-Mart: The Next Generation coming soon ... maybe

Doug Herod

Friday, November 24, 2006 - 09:00

Herod's Column - Get ready, east St. Catharines.

Big-box bliss is in your future.

As expected, a developer has formally submitted plans to rezone former Ferranti-Packard property to make way for a new power retail centre, bordered by Bunting Road, Dieppe Road and Neilson Avenue,

The anchor tenant would be a huge, next-generation Wal-Mart store (19,350 square metres) with a significant grocery component (4,050 square metres).

By comparison, the existing Wal-Mart store at the nearby Lincoln Mall is 14,500 square metres and the Pen Centre Zehrs grocery store is 5,400 square metres.

In addition to demolishing the old Ferranti-Packard factory, the landscape-altering proposal involves tearing down NG Cash and Carry and TST Overland Express, both of which front on Bunting Road.

The development also calls for eight other new mini- to mid-sized box stores on the 31.8-acre (12.8-hectare) property. The existing Staples store and small adjacent plaza on site will remain. There will be parking space for more than 1,700 cars.

Now before people start polishing up their resumes for Wal-Mart greeter jobs or investing in asphalt, it should be noted St. Catharines East Developments Inc. has some regulatory hurdles to jump before its plans can be realized.

(St. Catharines East Developments Inc. is an arm of Smart!Centres, formerly First Pro Shopping Centres, the gang that brought us the Louth Power Centre on Fourth Avenue.)

First and foremost for the developers is convincing St. Catharines city council to rezone the land in question from industrial to commercial.

The public meeting to deal with the rezoning isn't expected until some time next spring.

However, there is a preliminary public information session set for Jan. 31.

Smart!Centres, which pines for the visibility a QEW service road offers, had sounded out city planners earlier this year about its proposal, and received a guarded response.

Concern was expressed by planners about the city giving up potentially prime industrial land along the QEW, the pressure for change such a huge commercial development might have on other nearby industrial properties and whether it would lead to an oversupply of retail space in the immediate area as well as the rest of the city.

The developer was asked to commission studies that would address these points as well as traffic and servicing questions.

The city only received the reports earlier this month and is still working through them.

However, to no one's surprise, the developer-funded studies support the re-zoning application, arguing there's room for more retail space in the city.

The project would result in the expansion and modernization of the existing Lincoln Mall commercial node, and could help persuade the owners of the eyesore known as the Adelstein scrapyard on Welland Avenue to relocate, the developer's consultants say.

Don't worry about the impact on the downtown, either, they add.

The proposed east St. Catharines development and downtown stores appeal to different consumers.

They also suggest the city is backing a loser if it continues to market the site for renewed industrial activity. There are plenty of more attractive industrial properties elsewhere in Niagara. The city is better off promoting its available industrial land in west St. Catharines.

And the city can't afford to rest on its laurels as the retail and commercial service hub of Niagara.

"In the face of increasing competition within Niagara region arising from proposals in Niagara Falls and elsewhere, it is important that St. Catharines encourage the upgrading and modernization of commercial facilities within the municipality," reads a report from a Markham-based retail consultant.

OK, that's the developer's take.

City planners, councillors and other parties have yet to weigh in.

Expect some wringing of hands from the usual suspects about how we're being big-boxed to death.

And can't we convince Research in Motion to take over the old Ferranti-Packard building?

Somehow, I see Wal-Mart winning out.

mucciared
Nov 24, 2006, 11:40 PM
I'm surprised the winter festival is still as small as it is. I was hoping that by their 25th anniversary next year it would be a full blown festival with a huge new year's concert, an outdoor ice skating rink, winter carnival, ice sculptures, etc. I think the large companies in the falls need to get behind the festival as from what I believe the organizers are cash strapped.

That's exactly what needs to be done. A 12 month season. The Falls is getting there, GWL is one example although that doesn't encourage people to leave. Toronto's tourist season is fine in the winter, theatre, shopping, hotel packages. The falls are just as or more impressive to see in the winter IMO.

FALLSVIEW
Nov 25, 2006, 5:51 AM
Sorry for the change of topic but I just read this in today's Standard:

Thank's for the heads up agrigentum, that would be a huge investment off the QEW and in that location.

Proposed Location Link: Google Earth (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=ST.+CATHARINES+ON&ie=UTF8&om=0&z=16&ll=43.170522,-79.21267&spn=0.004225,0.016651&t=h&iwloc=addr)

mucciared
Nov 28, 2006, 11:45 PM
http://www.hamiltonspectator.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=hamilton/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1164667813458&call_pageid=1020420665036&col=1112101662835

Raising the Falls

Spectator File Photo
Aaron Lichtman, a New York corporate attorney, plans to give the Niagara Falls's crumbling core a $200-million facelift.


Manhattan lawyer has daring revival plan
By David Segal
The Washington Post
NIAGARA FALLS (Nov 28, 2006)
Walk 20 minutes due north of the wax museums and honeymoon motels at the tacky core of this perennial tourist stop and you will find the eight-block stretch that locals call downtown. It looks like any other main street in a death spiral: empty storefronts, cheap rental apartments and a few holdout businesses limping from month to month.

But these blocks will soon be the scene of a nervy experiment in urban revival. The plan is to close most of the downtown, throw a tarp over the buildings and spend more than $200 million on renovations.

A year or so later, the place would reopen, hopefully with marquee retailers and spiffy residences in a setting that might look like a live Norman Rockwell painting.

While the city would underwrite some of it, the plan is largely in the hands of 42-year-old Manhattan lawyer and aspiring development mogul Aaron Lichtman.

He and his investors are putting up most of the money and have already spent more than $20 million to buy about 60 properties, most of them on Queen Street, the heart of downtown. They hope to spend even more.

Lichtman is relatively new at development. He doesn't have any particular attachment to Niagara Falls. But he thinks "Niagara" is an internationally known brand, and if he can lure the locals and just a fraction of the city's roughly 12 million annual visitors, he and his partners will make a fortune.

The response in Niagara Falls has ranged from euphoria to suspicion.

"It's about time someone did this," said James Kerr, co-owner of the Dollar And, a five-and-dime on Queen Street.

Plenty of local politicians, too, think Lichtman has his heart and his wallet in the right place.

"We've heard so many different proposals in the past," said Alderman Wayne Campbell. "Everyone comes with their hands out, looking for money. Aaron is actually spending money."

Others worry that the roughly $36 million Lichtman wants the government to kick in, for infrastructure improvements, will mean a major tax increase.

Then there is this: Lichtman will not disclose the names of his partners. He says he'll share those names with the underwriting bank, and the bank, through due diligence, will provide its imprimatur.

He hopes to sign a memorandum of understanding in the next few months, with renovations to commence soon thereafter. But will they?

"Not one penny will be spent unless we're satisfied with the developer himself," says Doug Darbyson, the city's director of planning and development. "We need to do a full analysis, which we have already begun."

Tall Steel
Dec 5, 2006, 4:11 AM
I don't know if you guys know this or not but I will post it anyways. I went to do some Christmas shopping at Niagara Square today and when I went to check out at The Bay, the cashier told me that they were closing on January 13. I was surprised and I had asked why and she said because they were not getting enough business, I asked if she knew anything about a new store moving in, but she didn't know.

I also checked out the new future shop and it is very nice but as someone mentioned before, it is annoying that you have to exit the mall just to enter future shop.

FALLSVIEW
Dec 5, 2006, 7:09 AM
Thanks for the info Tall Steel, I actually just finished posting it > here < (http://niagarafallsdevelopmentsproposal.blogspot.com/) it was in the NF Review today. I wonder if they will drop a Designer Depot which is owned by the HBC or something like that in that location. The Bay is to expensive for peoples tastes in todays market.

realcity
Dec 6, 2006, 6:07 PM
I can respect your anonymity Realcity, so I wont ask any details. But are you talking about the fire, lasers, and LED for the Festival of Lights or are you talking about actual developments on their property?

There is work being done at the Holiday Inn regarding a kitchen being installed?
http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/5663/niagaradevelopmentsb077tk8.jpg

Actual developments on the property. Some planned attractions are huge.

I stayed at the Cascade this weekend and noticed my walkway obstructed by that construction, didn't know it was a kitchen.

drafty
Dec 6, 2006, 7:42 PM
Sorry realcity, but until proven otherwise, it is still 'the Skylon that cried wolf'. There have been so many hotels and developments proposed and announced by the Skylon over the past 15 years, with absolutely nothing to show for it, that even if they do announce something huge, it will most likely go in the scrap heap with all the rest of them.

Tall Steel
Dec 6, 2006, 11:56 PM
Well I went back to the Sqaure today and they are moving out really fast at The Bay, there are boxes and mannequins everywhere. I am still dissapointed about there closing, but what Designer Depots could be moving in there?

FALLSVIEW
Dec 7, 2006, 1:07 AM
Actually Drafty had mentioned to me that the Designer Depots are pretty much the same as a Winners, and from what I remember of the one in St.Catharines he is right! I could even see them splitting the store in half adding a separate entrance. They could then entice any number of franchises. ie.. Chapters, Old Navy, Home Outfitters, Michaels and on and on! There are still some large empty stores still available inside the mall though. I would love to see them spruce up the food court with some LCD screens and raise up the middle section of the food court, it's so bland. I think that in order to get people back to the mall you need trendy stores such as Chapters or Old Navy, a Tim Horton's wouldn't hurt either. It would have been nice if they would have attached the movie theatre to the mall, but oh well it's a little late for that. I could go on and on, but I'm just glad that they rejuvenated this mall with the additions they have added.

Tony
Dec 7, 2006, 9:11 PM
Well I for one have faith in what Realcity is saying.

Anyway, I'm shocked that the Bay left Niagara Square, first Zellers, now The Bay.. replaced by Designer Depot? How sad. It's the death of the Hudson Bay traditional department stores in Niagara Falls.

FALLSVIEW
Dec 8, 2006, 2:36 AM
This article was posted by rt o891 earlier today on SSC!

Greenbelt restrictions in the Golden Horseshoe Help Create A New Balance Of Development; Niagara Falls Poised For Growth

Lisa Van De Ven, National Post
Published: Saturday, December 02, 2006

Tourists come for a day to take in the falls. Others drive past on their way to the border. But for many, Niagara Falls isn't just a place to bring foreign visitors or to stop for a quick bet at the casinos -- it's a place to live, maybe a place to retire.

In fact, the city's new-home market is booming, as homebuyers move farther out of the Toronto area. And Niagara Falls is taking advantage of that interest. The city, as the mayor will say, is going through a "renaissance," with an emerging part-time recreational ownership market; and there are plans to revitalize the downtown core. In some ways, it's even becoming a bedroom community for Toronto and its western neighbours.

"For many years, it's had negative growth because our young people--after they would graduate from university -- would go off to other cities to practise their professions," says Niagara Falls Mayor Ted Salci. "Now it's reversing, where we're getting people."

All of which has led to a more sophisticated market, with a range of products that includes traditional low-rise affordable homes servicing commuters and locals, as well as more high-end houses for the casino and hotel bigwigs, and even a new residential condominium tower attracting both retirees moving into the region and investors looking to capitalize on its growth.

"It's turning into a real destination, not just for tourists, but we think for people who want to live there and make it their home," says J. Marc Baronette, director of business development for O.R.E. Development Corp.

O.R.E. is developing a 29-storey condominium building on the Niagara River. It's the first condo

tower in Niagara Falls in about 20 years, Mr. Baronette says, and the developer is already seeing a varied group of potential buyers visit the site: about 10% to 15% locals, with others from Toronto, Montreal and as far off as Asia.

"There will be an investor market," he says, "and some retirees or close to retirees, or people who just want to get out of their house and get into a condo lifestyle."

There'll also be a component of recreational buyers, he says, as people look for an alternative to Muskoka or Collingwood.

The part-time segment of the market is growing throughout the Niagara Falls area, says Dan Hendriks, president of the Niagara Home Builders' Association and construction manager for local low-rise developer Mountainview Homes.

"You can get yourself a nice home for half the price of what you pay in Muskoka," Mr. Hendriks says. "That's an interesting market that has sprung up and tourism has obviously played a big part in that, because of golf courses and wineries and so on."

Affordability is what has driven many components of the Niagara Falls market, from the part-time recreational segment to the first-time buyers and retirees. The mayor (himself a former real-estate broker), pegs the average house price at about $180,000 and says it's that affordability

that has made Niagara Falls an alternative to areas nearer Toronto. Retirees can cash in their Toronto home and move to the Niagara area with a nest egg left over, and first-time buyers or young families will make the commute to Hamilton or even Toronto. With land for new development in other areas running out, the Niagara region is becoming more popular.

"Some greenbelt legislation introduced recently prohibited a lot of development in the Lincoln/ Grimsby area, and that is forcing development south of us," says Mr. Salci. "We have thousands of acres of land in terms of potential housing supply. Combine that with our affordability and we're in an ideal position. We're really poised for growth."

The municipality is working to revitalize its downtown, teaming up with developer Historic Niagara, which has committed $100- million to developing the Queen Street downtown district. Council, meanwhile, has committed a $35-million capital budget to improve the streetscapes and other public portions of the project.

It's something that will be seen as a welcome change for some of the city's population, as the residential component begins to balance the tourist component. Currently, says Bruce Barber -- longtime Niagara Falls resident and president of Barber Homes Ltd. --homebuyers are moving out of the old downtown, to live in the outskirts of the city. "It's starting to lose some of its appeal as an old town," he says.

But the new plan, as envisioned, will bring about 1,800 new residential units downtown. The result will be a mixed-use city core that feeds Niagara Falls's residential growth.

"We're taking Niagara Falls to another level," the mayor says.

FALLSVIEW
Dec 12, 2006, 5:13 AM
Niagara Falls May Get Convention Centre

Blogging Post Link: NFD&P (http://niagarafallsdevelopmentsproposal.blogspot.com/2006/12/niagara-falls-may-get-convention-centre.html)

Convention centre dream 'closer than ever'

RAY SPITERI
Local News - Monday, December 11, 2006 Updated @ 5:32:12 PM

The decades-old dream of a convention centre in Niagara Falls is “closer
than ever” to becoming a reality, says Mayor Ted Salci. “We are cautiously optimistic that we will have good news to report shortly” said Salci, adding he is hopeful to hear news "in the next 60 days or so." “We have made our intentions clear to the federal and provincial governments that a convention centre is a desire of ours.” A local committee has been quietly working to get one built. Several meetings have been held with government officials, including one between Salci, committee chairman Dragan Matovic and Prime Minister Stephen Harper this past summer. A site for the Niagara Convention and Civic Centre was identified on Stanley Avenue across from the former Loretto Academy, through a site-selection request for proposals in 2005. Matovic provided documents relating to the project exclusively to The Review, but declined to elaborate on the proposal due to the sensitivity of negotiations. The documents don't identify the other committee members. The proposed development would consist of an 18,000-square-metre facility that could house conventions of up to 10,000 people. The complex would also feature state-of-the-art conference facilities, several banquet rooms, 4,000 parking spaces and a 100,000-square-foot exhibition hall that could be used for trade shows. The cost of the project is estimated at $100 million. The source of the funding would be split with about one-third coming from the federal government, one-third from the province and one-third from private sector stakeholders.

Article Link: Niagara Falls Review (http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=314557&catname=Local%20News&classif=News%20Alert)

fastcarsfreedom
Dec 13, 2006, 6:45 PM
I know this is a development site, so perhaps I'm slightly off-topic, but given that a major redevelopment of Queen Street is planned--what can folks tell me about the history of the now abandoned Rossberg's department store in downtown NF...I understand it has an interesting history.

drafty
Dec 14, 2006, 3:43 AM
I don't know if Rosbergs history is anything extraordinary. When Queen St. was THE shopping district in Niagara Falls, Rosbergs was certainly what we would now call an anchor, located at the east end of the street. It was a 4 level department store that carried better quality merchandise. It had one elevator and stairs between the floors. I can actually remember (God I'm old) being on the elevator with my mother and it had an operator who opened and closed the doors by hand and moved a lever to operate the elevator. It was later changed to a push button. It's only real competition was the Eatons on Victoria Ave. near the other end of Queen.
One interesting note about the store is that the owners had a daughter named Barbara, who married a gentleman by the name of Frum, and she went on to become a well known journalist and TV personality.

Tall Steel
Dec 15, 2006, 2:24 AM
I went back to Niagara Square to do some more shopping and I asked a lady at the General Store what was moving into The Bay once it closes. I don't know if you heard of this FALLSVIEW but she said that The Mandarin Reasturant taking it's place, I was expecting her to say some Designer Depot store so I was surprised by this. If this is true this should boost some more business for the mall too. Also, I once ate at The Mandarin in St. Catharines and I liked the food there so this one will be closer for me to drive to.

FALLSVIEW
Dec 15, 2006, 3:04 PM
My Mother-in-Law brought us to one in Toronto last year and it was insane, the line up was out the door and down the sidewalk, she said it was always like that. The buffet food was so good and it was enough to feed a small army. The only thing is that the Bay is way to big... even for a Mandarin, they must be planning a couple of things. I had asked the administrative office about a new tenant, but they weren't allowed to disclose any information about that location, thanks for the information Tall Steel.

mucciared
Dec 16, 2006, 2:24 AM
I can't imagine the Mandarin taking up the ENTIRE area. A Mandarin would be very successful in Niagara - the St. Catharines restaurant is insane. It will be something the locals can go to as it seems there really aren't many restaurants locals can go to without having to deal with the tourist area (parking, waiting, etc.).

fastcarsfreedom
Dec 17, 2006, 4:54 PM
Maybe I misunderstand the Niagara Falls retail market, but does this not leave the city without a traditional, full-line department store? For years that Bay space was a branch of my hometown's own Robinson's chain...The Bay picked it up I'm thinking in the early 90s when they bought up most of the Robinson's locations. So now, if you want a Bay/Sears type experience you'll need to go to St Catherines?

Back to Rossberg's--approximately when did it close? By the exterior it seems to have been alive into the 70s--I'm guessing probably into the 80s as it doesn't look that badly decayed.

SteelTown
Dec 17, 2006, 4:58 PM
I was at Niagara Falls this weekend with friends and we all went on the Skywheel which was great cause we went right at 9pm so we got to see the fireworks well on the Skywheel.

The only problem I have is where's the lights along Skylon Tower?

drafty
Dec 18, 2006, 2:03 PM
Fastcars, Rosberg's closed, I think, around 1992. Queen St. had deteriorated so much by then that business was dismal, and, if memory serves me, a family death (owners?) was involved.
Steeltown, the lack of lights on the Skylon has drawn some discussion earlier in this thread. Check it out.

FALLSVIEW
Dec 20, 2006, 4:53 AM
HILTON, NIAGARA FALLS
Not sure if this is a big deal yet, but the Hilton had a hole dug out front of their property today!

http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/7656/niagaradevelopmentsb233on2.jpg

Blog Link: NFD&P (http://niagarafallsdevelopmentsproposal.blogspot.com/)

Tony
Dec 20, 2006, 12:03 PM
It's only a utilities extension / upgrade.

FALLSVIEW
Dec 23, 2006, 12:33 AM
Power projects will fuel Niagara growth

MONIQUE BEECH / Osprey News Network
Local News - Friday, December 22, 2006

Niagara's economic outlook is headed for a major upswing in 2007 fuelled by two large power projects, predicts the Conference Board of Canada. For St. Catharines-Niagara, economic growth is expected to hit 3.1 per cent, the fastest rate since 2000, states the 2007 Metropolitan Outlook, an annual economic performance and trend report. In 2006, projected growth was a mere 0.4 per cent. This year, St. Catharines-Niagara is forecast to have the fourth fastest-growing economy out of 27 major Canadian metropolises, falling just behind western boom towns, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, the recently released report found. "It's a little bit of a different story for the western provinces, where the economy has been growing for years and will continue to be strong," the report's author, Alan Arcand, said from his Ottawa office. "St. Catharines is more of a rebound." Niagara's economic engine will be revved by two new power projects. The $470-million natural-gas-fired power plant planned for Abitibi Consolidated's recycled newsprint mill in Thorold will be complete in 2009. The project will create more than 300 jobs during construction, starting early next year. The second project is the 10.4-kilometre tunnel to bring water from Niagara Falls to Queenston's hydroelectric generating complex, which will be completed by 2009. About 230 jobs will be created during construction. The projects are also forecast to create spinoff jobs in the transportation, storage and communications sectors. "When you have two major construction projects, it really boosts the numbers," Arcand said. "It's not surprising you'll see growth next year, given you have two big projects." The forecast good news is welcome after several years of big blows to Niagara's manufacturing sector, said Patrick Gedge, chief executive officer with the Niagara Economic Development Corp. Gedge said he hopes the boom in the region's power-producing sector lures other lucrative companies to Niagara. "I hope it gets the business community in Canada thinking about how St. Catharines-Niagara area is in fact a business community," Gedge said. "One where companies can make good and profitable investments, and see us not just as a tourism destination." Gedge said the region still needs to spend energy strengthening its weaker economic sectors, such as manufacturing. Trudy Parsons said the projected growth is great as long as Niagara's workforce is qualified to fill available jobs. "We need to identify exactly what the skills sets are that these employers are going to be looking for so we can actually match the people to the jobs," Parsons said.

Conference Board of Canada - Metropolitan Outlook Winter 2007

Top four centres (out of 27) projected to have the fastest-growing economies in 2007:

1. Calgary - 3.9 per cent

2. Edmonton - 3.6 per cent

3. Vancouver 3.1 per cent

4. St.Catharines/Niagara Falls - 3.1 per cent

FALLSVIEW
Dec 27, 2006, 4:04 PM
Niagara Square Shopping Centre

I was talking to a member of the management team at the Bay yesterday, and she said that the entire Bay Department Store is going to be leveled to make room for more Big Box Stores at the mall. Tall Steel was told that a Mandarin restaurant was taking it's place, so I quess we'll see which rumour rings true?

Blog Link: Niagara Falls Developments & Proposals (http://niagarafallsdevelopmentsproposal.blogspot.com/)

FALLSVIEW
Dec 27, 2006, 5:15 PM
Tony, I know you and Realcity do alot of Diagrams for SSP. Do you know what happened to the Hilton expansion at 52 stories, it's not even listed anymore. I know it was between the Rainbow Tower and the Days Inn expansion, although there was never a diagram done for it. Also has anyone ever heard what happened to the Rainbow Tower, was it just too expensive and risky considering all the obstacles in the tourist industry. The last I heard was they were doing revisions to the proposed height of the building.

Tall Steel
Dec 27, 2006, 5:59 PM
There is a diagram for the Hilton Expansion done by Kamuix, but it is listed under Stale Proposal. As for the Rainbow Tower I haven't heard any news about it yet so I guess we will just have to wait.

Also is the Bay still open or is it closed now because I haven't been there in a while, the last I heard is that it is moved out.

spiritedenergy
Dec 31, 2006, 8:46 AM
It's only a utilities extension / upgrade.

i love your avatar...
Is this topic about the town of Niagara Falls, ON? I'm sorry to tell you but i went there this september and was shocked by how ugly it is, it seems all worn down and boarded-up, and that amusement area close to the falls is even worse, it looks like disneyworld or something, close to the most beautiful falls of North America... what a shame.

fastcarsfreedom
Jan 5, 2007, 5:45 AM
Spiritedenergy--NF is NF...it is what it is. If you saw something boarded up and worn down I can only assume you visited the traditional downtown, along Queen Street. Indeed, this is an area of the city in need of some TLC. Apparently you didn't like Clifton Hill--The Hill isn't for everyone's taste--but for all the neon and noise--for all the high rises along the escarpment--if you stand and look at the wonder of the Falls themselves, nothing diminishes their beauty and power--you stand and look at that water and it could be 500 years ago.

It's a shame you didn't get to experience more of the Niagara Parks system--which is unrivaled in it's beauty, nature and serenity. Next time you find yourself in the area I recommend you take the Parkway from Fort Erie to Queenston.

FALLSVIEW
Jan 5, 2007, 3:25 PM
I couldn't have said it any better myself, Fastcarsfreedom. I know people love to knock Niagara Falls and all its gaudy attractions, and I'm ok with that, because everyone has there own opinion on what is beautiful and what's not. All I know is when you see the faces of the tourists walking up Clifton Hill, they seem to be really enjoying the experience. And when you see them down at the Falls, they're not staring up at the buildings behind them, they're staring across at this amazing natural wonder in front of them. It's all about perspective, what are you going to take away from the experience. The brightly colored and tacky attractions throughout the landscape, and the very poor and inadequate side streets. Or are you going to put into your memory banks one of the most extraordinary sights on earth?

FALLSVIEW
Jan 5, 2007, 3:43 PM
DENNY'S IS CLOSING, CONFIRMED!

Yesterday I noticed workers at the Hilton on Fallsview putting up semi-permanent chain link fencing around the entire parking lot, also the Days Inn next door is closed with a sign that reads...for room accommodations and pre- booked reservations please go to the Hilton located directly behind this hotel. Sorry for any inconvenience. And confirmed by a worker at the adjacent Denny's, it will officially be closed for good on Sunday.

http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/2024/niagaradevelopmentsb274vw5.jpg
http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/7240/niagaradevelopmentsb275va0.jpg

spiritedenergy
Jan 6, 2007, 1:29 AM
Spiritedenergy--NF is NF...it is what it is. If you saw something boarded up and worn down I can only assume you visited the traditional downtown, along Queen Street. Indeed, this is an area of the city in need of some TLC. Apparently you didn't like Clifton Hill--The Hill isn't for everyone's taste--but for all the neon and noise--for all the high rises along the escarpment--if you stand and look at the wonder of the Falls themselves, nothing diminishes their beauty and power--you stand and look at that water and it could be 500 years ago.

It's a shame you didn't get to experience more of the Niagara Parks system--which is unrivaled in it's beauty, nature and serenity. Next time you find yourself in the area I recommend you take the Parkway from Fort Erie to Queenston.

thank you for your kind reply. Actually I was very badly impressed at the beginning of my trip, at the railway station where out of it everything was looking so bad... we wanted to go around up to Niagara on the Lake but didn't work out.
The falls are beautiful indeed, but is the water polluted or that foam is just from the falls? And that amusement park... blah. We were waiting to see untouched nature around the falls, that's why probably we were badly impressed.

FALLSVIEW
Jan 8, 2007, 2:07 AM
Denny's is Closed

http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/4348/niagaradevelopmentsb278wt7.jpg


My wife and I brought our kids to a special for area residents today, where local museums only cost a dollar to get in...great deal! Anyways, as we were leaving I drove past the Denny's owned by the Hilton, and it had just closed up for good. Already they had their signs taken down off the building, and the inside was being gutted. This building will probably be down before I even make it back there! Also the big Hilton sign that sat at the corner of the building is now gone.

architect1
Jan 8, 2007, 6:36 AM
Nice I have been waiting for years to see this start happing Not like the was anything good at the dennys it was the run off of the hilton. They would get the junk fries and oil that we used. Then when we needed anything we took it from there.Not to much room in the 33floor fridge. They need more fridges in the place.

But anyways Its good news and cant wait to see the construction. Lest see the piles start.

WHISTLERINMUSKOKA
Jan 9, 2007, 10:10 PM
Do you have the updated rendering?

WHISTLERINMUSKOKA
Jan 10, 2007, 9:57 PM
Here it is, posted by mark simpson @ urbantoronto.ca

http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i165/whistlerinToronto/niagarahilton.jpg?t=1168466156

architect1
Jan 11, 2007, 6:45 PM
Thats a beautiful building. I love its architectural design. the detailing is so great. Hope to see the dennys down soon.

FALLSVIEW
Jan 12, 2007, 11:57 PM
Thats a beautiful building. I love its architectural design. the detailing is so great. Hope to see the dennys down soon.

Your wish is their command architect1!

http://img172.imageshack.us/img172/2616/niagaradevelopmentsb290ou0.jpg
http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/6205/niagaradevelopmentsb294je5.jpg

Dylan Leblanc
Jan 13, 2007, 12:09 AM
I havent laughted so hard all week! Only in Niagara falls would something like this happen.

:lmao:

Here it is, posted by mark simpson @ urnantoronto.ca

http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i165/whistlerinToronto/niagarahilton.jpg?t=1168466156

architect1
Jan 13, 2007, 10:57 PM
Wow they didn't tare it down it fell down on its own and they swept it away in a extra stretch glad garbage bag. lol

That was fast. time to put the whole in the ground.

agrigentum
Jan 18, 2007, 1:08 AM
This is going to be such a great example of Smart Growth in St. Catharines!

http://www.niagarathisweek.com/na/news/story/3844507p-4448799c.html

Region approves residential project on hospital lot

Jan 17, 2007

ST. CATHARINES -- Regional council has approved the official plan amendment required to proceed with a 42-unit townhouse complex on a two-acre parcel of land across the street from the former Hotel Dieu hospital.
The amendment redesignates the property from major institutional to neighbourhood residential in the official plan.

The project, a partnership between Mountainview Homes and Walker Industries, will see two and three-storey units designed to be sympathetic to the older style of housing found in the downtown.

It is the first phase of a five- to 10-year project to completely redevelop the Ontario Street site of the Niagara Health System once it relocates the prompt care facility along with St. Catharines General Hospital to a new site in west St. Catharines.

The next phase is proposed to include live-work townhouses with small businesses operating on the ground floor, with the owner living on the second and third storeys.

As well, there is a low-rise condo building planned for the north end of the property.

In a report for the planning and public works committee, staff hail the project as "a very good example of appropriate residential intensification."

Staff note the downtown is identified by the Province as an urban growth centre, which is expected to achieve a density target of 150 residents and jobs per hectare by 2031.

The residential development will occur downtown, it will fall within the boundary of the Community Improvement Area, and will be exempt from development charges.

agrigentum
Jan 18, 2007, 1:13 AM
One more step closer to getting that Urban Whitewater Kayak Course....the Standard reported late last year that if this generating station happens, 12-Mile Creek's water flow can be properly regulated to allow for the Kayak course that should have been part of the 2008 Toronto Olympics.

http://www.niagarathisweek.com/na/news/story/3844510p-4448793c.html

12 mile creek Hydro plant to use Regional land

Jan 17, 2007

ST. CATHARINES -- Regional council has agreed in principle to allow St. Catharines Hydro Generation Inc. to use Regional lands to access its proposed generation station on Twelve Mile Creek.
The Shickluna Generating Station is a proposed five-megawatt power station which will produce electricity by having water fall about four metres through state-of-the-art turbine generators. It is estimated enough electricity would be produced to power about 5,000 homes.

The proposed location for the station involves Regional lands near the Fourth Avenue bridge. To proceed with the site assessment stage, which includes design and geological studies, SCHGI will need access to the lands. It may also need to modify the Twelve Mile Creek bank area to channel water most effectively.

The estimated $25-million to $27-million project became financially feasible recently with the announcement of the Province's Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program, which will pay 11 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity from eligible renewable resources.

It's all part of plans by the province to have the private sector contribute to the public hydro supply. The province's existing supply of available hydro is strained by demand during peak periods, such as hot summer days when air conditioners are blasting away at full power.

mucciared
Jan 18, 2007, 7:21 AM
St. Catharines seems to be having quite a few infill projects as of late.

There is a new retail plaza being built across from Grantham Plaza and what I've heard will be a new car dealership next to Blockbuster on Scott St.

FALLSVIEW
Jan 22, 2007, 2:03 PM
Digging has begun at the Hilton site.

http://img253.imageshack.us/img253/7920/nia0079yi.jpg
http://img178.imageshack.us/img178/6535/nia0083iq.jpg
http://img264.imageshack.us/img264/5161/nia0036xi.jpg

FALLSVIEW
Jan 25, 2007, 3:46 PM
Niagara Falls to get Hyatt Place Hotel

2006 Proves Banner Year for Hyatt Place(TM) Development
New Hyatt Brand Secures More Than 30 Projects in Debut Year

Distribution Source : Market Wire

Date : Tuesday, January 23, 2007

CHICAGO, IL -- (Market Wire - Jan 23, 2007) -- Hyatt Place, one of Hyatt's two new brands, gained impressive development traction in its debut year, garnering 31 new projects, totaling 4,321 hotel rooms. These new projects will join the 120 hotels converting to the Hyatt Place brand in 2007.

"We're seeing tremendous growth in our first year of development for Hyatt Place, and we expect to see these numbers increase substantially in 2007. In addition to the 120 owned, managed and franchised properties to be converted over the course of 2007, we are adding an outstanding mix of new-build properties with some of the best owners and operators in the business," said Chris Ivy, senior vice president of development for Hyatt Place and Hyatt Summerfield Suites. "When developing Hyatt Place, we found that while lifestyles were changing, the select service hotel experience had become stagnant. The response we've had to Hyatt Place from both developers and consumers makes us confident we're filling a void in the upper end of the select service market."

-- Niagara Falls, ON, Canada - Under development by Canadian Niagara
Hotels, this 150-room hotel is located in the Stanley Ave. corridor and
scheduled to open Summer 2008

Tony
Jan 25, 2007, 5:00 PM
This is going to be such a great example of Smart Growth in St. Catharines!

http://www.niagarathisweek.com/na/news/story/3844507p-4448799c.html

Region approves residential project on hospital lot

Jan 17, 2007

ST. CATHARINES -- Regional council has approved the official plan amendment required to proceed with a 42-unit townhouse complex on a two-acre parcel of land across the street from the former Hotel Dieu hospital.
The amendment redesignates the property from major institutional to neighbourhood residential in the official plan.

The project, a partnership between Mountainview Homes and Walker Industries, will see two and three-storey units designed to be sympathetic to the older style of housing found in the downtown.

The next phase is proposed to include live-work townhouses with small businesses operating on the ground floor, with the owner living on the second and third storeys.

As well, there is a low-rise condo building planned for the north end of the property.


Cool, that one was mine originally. The low-rise condo is different. I haven't seen a current site plan but my original concept plan had Townhouses with a lane in the back.

Wigs
Jan 25, 2007, 11:01 PM
I havent laughted so hard all week! Only in Niagara falls would something like this happen.

:lmao:

I concur!

totally out of scale! :koko:

Sulley
Feb 19, 2007, 9:12 PM
Well, Grant, someone in the Buffalo-Niagara area has to build highrises, and it sure isn't going to be Buffalo!

:D

Wigs
Feb 26, 2007, 4:36 AM
Well, Grant, someone in the Buffalo-Niagara area has to build highrises, and it sure isn't going to be Buffalo!

:D

har har.
the addition is tacky and totally out of scale

slowly becoming las vegas of the north
:yuck:

Sulley
Feb 27, 2007, 12:22 AM
Well, that's your fault. Tsk tsk...

drafty
Feb 27, 2007, 3:30 AM
Wigs, I don't know what you mean by out of scale. With what? All the other high rises around it? Fallsview did a good touched up image that shows how it actually looks pretty good.
http://niagarafallsdevelopmentsproposal.blogspot.com/

zerokarma
Feb 28, 2007, 3:24 PM
DENNY'S IS CLOSING, CONFIRMED!


Good, that place had horrible food and terribly overpriced.

FALLSVIEW
Feb 28, 2007, 3:46 PM
Here is the image Drafty was talking about!

http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/3687/niagaratowershe4.jpg

agrigentum
Mar 17, 2007, 2:12 AM
I love Doug Herod's updates! I'm really glad to see that development in Merritton is ongoing - I can see the potential in this part of the city. Too bad the former industrial land near Hartzel Rd. was too polluted for residential development - 3 million dollars worth of soil removal and they STILL found contaminents! crazy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Developer loves giving old buildings new lease on life

Doug Herod
Herod's Column - Friday, March 16, 2007 Updated @ 9:25:24 AM

I figured it was time for an update on the actions of Nino Donatelli.

The St. Catharines developer with a penchant for buying and fixing up old buildings always seems to have something on the go.

A conversation with Donatelli this week didn't disappoint.

He revealed the following:

He recently purchased the old Merritton library building and the CAW Local 676 building behind it.

He's involved in talks that could lead to his purchase of the dormant Union House tavern on Merritt Street.

He has his eye on the old Merritton town hall building and adjacent fire hall.

He plans to put an Italian-themed restaurant on the ground floor of the refurbished Lybster Mill building at Merritt Street and Glendale Avenue.

He's sold the two-acre Keg property on Glendale and a three-acre parcel of land adjoining it.

His plans to build a 110-unit subdivision north of Oakdale Avenue behind Hartzel Road on former Domtar steam plant lands have hit a major snag.

As you can probably gather, Donatelli thinks the future looks pretty good for old Merritton's commercial core.

It has a lot of neat older buildings that fall under the category of handyman specials. As well, the realignment of Glendale Avenue at Merritt and the soon-to-be replaced Merritt bridge over the CN tracks should dramatically improve traffic flow in the area.

Donatelli's strategy is simple. He gets in on the bottom floor of an area's revitalization. He notes he's had success in Port Dalhousie and Lewiston, N.Y.

Over the past few years, he has spent a lot of time, energy and money on Merritton's revival, most notably renovating a dilapidated old rubberworks factory into the Keg building and transforming the former Domtar property into a model for brownfield redevelopment.

Part of the old Domtar lands fronting on Glendale was sold to grocery store giant Sobeys two years ago.

It recently submitted an updated site plan to the city that calls for a 4,251 square-metre grocery store (by comparison, Zehrs at the Pen is 5,400 square metres); a three-unit attached plaza and two detached buildings.

One of the stand-alone buildings has been designated a bank on the site plan. Talk about town is that another tenant will be an LCBO store, presumably the one from Pendale Plaza.

Donatelli said it seems a little strange not owning the Keg property, considering his involvement in resurrecting it. But he said needed the money from the sale to work on his other projects, most notably the Lybster Mill.

"My biggest buzz is working on these old buildings," he said.

In addition to the restaurant at the Lybster Mill, Donatelli envisions commercial space on the ground floor and hopes to develop the top level into a hotel.

He says he has no plans for the old library building and union hall. As for the former Merritton town office and fire hall, he said he has been talking with the city about swapping those for a piece of property he owns, which would allow the municipality to build a new area fire station.

On the gloomier side of things, it appears the plan for a housing tract north of Oakdale Avenue is all but dead, a serious blow to officials and residents hoping to create more of a neighbourhood feel to the Hartzel Road corridor.

Soil contamination of the site is far worse than anyone imagined.

Donatelli says about $3 million was spent trying to remediate the site, primarily through the excavation, trucking and disposal of soil. But then it was discovered there were even more contaminants deeper in the ground.

The cleanup task appears futile, Donatelli said. His company is considering the possibility of developing the site for commercial use, which has less stringent environmental standards to meet than residential.

Paul Chapman, the city's planning director, confirmed the soil problem and agreed it appears "impractical" to pursue residential development there.

He declined further comment until he presents a report to city council.

Stay tuned.

Doug Herod's opinion column runs Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

dherod@stcatharinesstandard.ca

Tony
Mar 17, 2007, 3:22 AM
Donatelli is a saint I tell ya. :D

mucciared
Mar 17, 2007, 7:22 AM
I almost read all of Doug's articles. I think he's hilarious!

The Port Tower has hit another obstacle as the city will no longer defend the PDVC at the OMB. The hearings are set for next winter.

agrigentum
Mar 17, 2007, 3:03 PM
The Port Tower has hit another obstacle as the city will no longer defend the PDVC at the OMB. The hearings are set for next winter.

I'm starting to think this Port Tower proposal is going to die before the OMB hearings begin. I am in support of the project, but the PDVC should probably start looking at other options, such as a new proposal that is scaled down, or moving the whole proposal downtown to coincide with a Brock U School of Fine & Performing Arts/ Wine Embassy project.

Tony
Mar 19, 2007, 10:59 AM
I almost read all of Doug's articles. I think he's hilarious!

The Port Tower has hit another obstacle as the city will no longer defend the PDVC at the OMB. The hearings are set for next winter.

? Is that even permitted?

The professional planners made a professional opinion about the proposal in support, then council approved it. The OMB can supena the planners to testify as to why they made their decision. I don't think the fucking politicians really have any say in the matter now.

mucciared
Mar 20, 2007, 9:03 PM
Tony, I have to go back on my terrible memory for this one. I know for sure that Regional Development Planners rejected the proposal but regional council overlooked them and passed it. So the non-supporters will actually use the findings of the planners in their case at the OMB.

The old city council (pre-election) approved, so the new city council held a regular meeting and a council man wanted to throw out the proposal (which was illegal) then another council member countered that by saying they will not defend PDVC at the OMB which council ended up voting on. I think I heard that the second motion forced council to pick one of the two options. Sorry Tony I can't find any articles since they're more than a week old.

Tony
Mar 21, 2007, 10:59 AM
The old city council (pre-election) approved, so the new city council held a regular meeting and a council man wanted to throw out the proposal (which was illegal) then another council member countered that by saying they will not defend PDVC at the OMB which council ended up voting on. I think I heard that the second motion forced council to pick one of the two options. Sorry Tony I can't find any articles since they're more than a week old.

Well if that's the case, the OMB has the power to subpoena the planners (most likely Paul Chapman) to testify. The move by council seems to be mostly just for show. Now if it still gets approved by the OMB they can blame the past council and the OMB.

slacido23
Mar 22, 2007, 10:19 PM
Wow
I went to Niagara falls in 2005 and it was wonderful i expect that in the future Niagara will be the best city in Canada

WhipperSnapper
Mar 23, 2007, 1:14 AM
^city?

different strokes for different folks I guess

agrigentum
Mar 24, 2007, 3:36 PM
One step further in getting that performing arts centre downtown....after reading this article, don't you think St. Catharines and Thorold should just get over it already and merge? hehe
______________________________________________________________

New organization has prosperity on its mind for two communities

MONIQUE BEECH
Local News - Friday, March 23, 2007 @ 01:00

A group of politicians, business people and educators proclaimed the winds of change were blowing in the Garden City Friday morning as fledgling details of a new prosperity council gusted through Brock University.

Making good on his fall campaign promise, St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan announced the first members of the new St. Catharines-Thorold Prosperity Council and the group's goals during a press conference at the university's Schmon Tower.

"I think the wind is a good omen," said McMullan, as a gutsy, howling gale shook the room, located on the top floor of the 13-storey building.

"The winds of change are coming."

McMullan said his city has strengths but acknowledged it also has weaknesses, namely low average incomes and educational attainment. He said the prosperity council is designed to do just that: bring economic prosperity to the neighbouring cities.

The council will bring together the public and private sectors and help them flush out key goals and "create the momentum and environment" to create new jobs, investment and attract talented professionals, he said.


So far, the council is comprised of both city's mayors, the St. Catharines-Thorold Chamber of Commerce, Niagara Health System and the heads of Brock University and Niagara College.

Nine citizens, selected through an application process and aimed to be a cross-section of community groups and businesses, will be added over the next month. Ads for positions to be filled on the council will be posted in local newspapers starting next week.

McMullan said the new council will take on a different role from the existing Niagara Economic Development Corp., which was created more than two decades ago to generate business interest in the region.

The council, expanded to include Thorold at the request of its mayor, Henry D'Angela, will serve as a direct communication line between the two municipalities' key stake holders and the federal and provincial governments, McMullan said.

Al Simpson, chamber president, agreed there is, at times, a communication gap between levels of government.

"One of the priorities of the council will be trying to facilitate better discussions between those governments," Simpson said.

Local provincial and federal politicians won't be directly involved in the prosperity council, but will be "included in the discussions that will spring from the council."

Simpson touted the new group as a way of advancing a proposed business development incubation program, a performing arts centre in St. Catharines and plans for a new hospital in St. Catharines.

McMullan got the prosperity council idea from a similar program started in Waterloo about 10 years ago.

McMullan said that community's council has had success attracting new businesses, particularly in the technology sector.

Jack Lightstone, president of Brock University, reiterated the need for a shared vision among the city's stakeholders.

"More importantly, we need to co-ordinate our efforts," Lightstone said.

The cost to run the council will be shared between St. Catharines, Thorold and the chamber. The City of St. Catharines expects to pay $5,000 in startup costs.

mbeech@stcatharinesstandard.ca

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Prosperity council goals include:

Promote the creation of business development opportunities;

Support growth of existing businesses;

Encourage relocation of business to the communities;

Promote urban revitalization;

Encourage wealth creation in the communities;

Facilitate communication between all levels of government and the business community.

mucciared
Mar 25, 2007, 7:07 AM
I can't see the two being seperate 50 years from now. Personally, I want the two to merge but I would want the city to be known as St. Catharines. The name is already established and that name idea of Canal City does not sit well with me.

Tony
Apr 4, 2007, 6:00 PM
I don't think this has been noted yet, but construction at the Hilton Expansion in Niagara Falls is proceeding well, concrete has been pouring since March 22.

architect1
Apr 8, 2007, 4:11 PM
Hey anyone have pics of the hiltons construction right now? I haven't got home for a while and I can't get around to checking it out.

drafty
Apr 9, 2007, 2:35 AM
Here are a couple of pics from accessniagara.com
They're just getting started with foundations. No cranes yet.


http://www.accessniagara.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/20070327_hilton_progress_01.jpg

http://www.accessniagara.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/20070327_hilton_progress_02.jpg

architect1
Apr 9, 2007, 10:36 PM
Here are a couple of pics from accessniagara.com
They're just getting started with foundations. No cranes yet.


http://www.accessniagara.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/20070327_hilton_progress_01.jpg

http://www.accessniagara.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/20070327_hilton_progress_02.jpg

Wow there building it floor level? Is there no basement? Where there any piles need to be drilled? I figured they would of dug at least 40-80 feet deep and put a huge basement/ structural slab. Or did they already just filled it in already?

drafty
Apr 10, 2007, 1:16 PM
Here are some earlier pics of the bottom of the foundation (also from accessniagara). No pylons, just the slab.

http://www.accessniagara.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/20070313_hilton_rebar_01.jpg

http://www.accessniagara.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/20070313_hilton_rebar_02.jpg

architect1
Apr 13, 2007, 4:41 PM
Ok I can see why or how they can manage to support the tower on that foundation real thick slab. Did they do any piles?

agrigentum
Apr 14, 2007, 8:09 PM
Once again, Doug Herod has written an article about the downtown lower level parking lot. This time it concerns the Canada Hair Cloth building's fate - this is prob my favourite building in the city. If this Brock U/City partnership project actually takes flight, I think it will be the best plan for downtown St. Cath that we've seen in a very long time. Fingers crossed!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------


Hello ... Hair Cloth? It's Brock University on the line....
Herod's Column - Friday, April 13, 2007 Updated @ 9:27:28 AM

As we all know, the canal valley behind St. Paul Street has been a field of dashed dreams the past several decades.

If it wasn't one eyebrow-raising scheme, it was another.

Occasionally, the Canada Hair Cloth building would be brought into play.

In certain grand development doodlings, the building was promoted as an appropriate site for a wine museum or some sort of residential project.

Problem was, the building already had a use. Canada Hair Cloth was still housed there and operating as the city's oldest, ongoing manufacturer, producing various materials for the garment industry.

Its attractiveness as a redevelopment project for the downtown was easy to see, though.

The 19th century, four-storey building is an impressively sized, well-preserved, brick-and-stone structure with a strong heritage feel to it.

It cuts an impressive figure in comparison to the cubist-art-on-steroids look to the rest of the back of St. Paul Street.

And now it's available.

Unfortunately so, of course.


The announcement last week that Canada Hair Cloth, which was founded in 1884, would be ceasing operations this summer marks the end of downtown's industrial era, one that was initially spurred by the presence of the First Welland Canal.

In more human terms, the closing marks the end of work for 42 people. Given the low-cost, overseas competition in the textile trade, there was a certain inevitability to the local company's eventual demise. But that doesn't necessarily make the news any easier to swallow for the employees, who'll be tossed into an uncertain job market.

The building will live on, however, and perhaps play a key role in the latest in a seemingly endless series of downtown revitalization attempts.

As noted, the structure looks nice in a heritage kind of way, but is there a danger in trying to tell a book by its cover?

Nino Donatelli, who has done an admirable job resurrecting a couple of old factories in Merritton, gives a thumbs-up to the industrial plants of the 19th century.

"They are structurally sound," said Donatelli. "That's the most critical point."

They had to be solid, he explained, "because the equipment they contained was so heavy."

"These old buildings are just tanks."

Donatelli said a redevelopment of the Canada Hair Cloth factory "could give a real lift to that downtown area."

Jim Macfarlane is the marketing manager for Canada Hair Cloth. More importantly for the future of the site, though, he and his brother Ron control the land in question. The Macfarlane family owned the company until 1996, when it sold the business - but not the building or the 1.16-hectare property on which it sits - to a French firm.

While more modern extensions to the manufacturing facility has caused the factory size to be listed at 70,000 square feet, Macfarlane says the signature brick-and-stone portion has 40,000 square feet of space.

Macfarlane doesn't envision a future industrial use for the building; for one thing, its multiple-floor layout is at odds with how modern factories are designed.

Might make a good factory-outlet mall, though, he says. Or a student housing project.

Maybe. But my guess is that the site and building will eventually attract the interest of Brock University and the city for other purposes.

As dedicated followers of the local scene well know, Brock is interested in moving its fine and performing arts school to a downtown location. In conjunction with that move, deep thinkers at the university and the city are talking about partnering on a downtown performing arts centre.

A large, multi-floored, old factory and an arts school sound like a pretty groovy fit.

But if there's interest in the building from those sources, it's news to Macfarlane.

It's been a week and no one's called from the city or Brock, he said.

Patience, Jim, patience.

Doug Herod's opinion column appears Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

dherod@stcatharinesstandard.ca

Tony
Apr 14, 2007, 8:28 PM
Could this be the redevelopment that finally spurs some condo towers or something in the lower-level parking lot?! Optimistically, I'd like to envision a Gooderham-Worts kinda development and catalyst, in of course a much smaller scale. I know the Twelve is buried there, but I wonder if some part of that area is floodplain. I think it would be awesome to day-light a portion of the buried creek in around where it used to run so it would essentially finally add a publically accessible water feature to the downtown.

agrigentum
Apr 15, 2007, 5:23 AM
Could this be the redevelopment that finally spurs some condo towers or something in the lower-level parking lot?! Optimistically, I'd like to envision a Gooderham-Worts kinda development and catalyst, in of course a much smaller scale. I know the Twelve is buried there, but I wonder if some part of that area is floodplain. I think it would be awesome to day-light a portion of the buried creek in around where it used to run so it would essentially finally add a publically accessible water feature to the downtown.

I couldn't agree more. I have always imagined exactly that for the lower level parking lot. Who knows what will happen. Regional Councillor Bruce Timms is trying to get the Welland Canals, including the burried portions, designated as a national heritage site by the federal government. Funds would be used to restore the canal if such a designation takes place, I think the lower level parking lot portion could be the hallmark of such a project.

agrigentum
Apr 19, 2007, 11:33 PM
More news on this project, published in The Standard on Tuesday. Some exciting words from mayor, brock prez.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brock, city team up for arts centre

By Marlene Bergsma
Local News - Tuesday, April 17, 2007 Updated @ 3:23:15 AM

Construction of a new performing arts centre in downtown St. Catharines could begin before this term of city council ends in 2010, Mayor Brian McMullan said after city councillors agreed in principle to co-operate with Brock University on a major downtown arts development.

Councillors agreed Monday night to find a site and negotiate a long-term agreement with Brock — which is the first time in nearly a quarter of a century that a viable idea has been floated for transforming the city’s core, said McMullan in an interview after the historic decision.

Brock president Jack Lightstone told councillors that Brock desperately needs to build a new school of fine and performing arts, and that the community has outgrown the Brock Centre for the Arts.

At the same time, the city needs to revitalize its downtown core, and the province is aware that the Greenbelt Act has blocked St. Catharines from future expansion growth, said Lightstone, speaking to councillors and a spectator gallery full of members of the city’s musical, theatrical and artistic communities.

“There is a convergence of needs, opportunities and expertise,” Lightstone said.


Lightstone said there are many possible ways the centre could be built and financed, such as the city building it and Brock committing to a long-term lease, or Brock agreeing to operate the performing arts venue at its own expense, contributing “a payroll in perpetuity” of between $750,000 and $800,000 a year to the downtown core.

“All options are under consideration,” said Rosemary Hale, dean of humanities at Brock, who was also in the audience along with the chairman of Brock’s board of trustees, David Howes.

“I don’t have any preconceived notion as to who builds the building or who owns the building,” Lightstone said. “Everything is up for discussion.”

St. Patrick’s Ward Coun. Mark Elliott, who made the motion to formally establish the partnership, said the first step is to negotiate “a comprehensive and well-integrated plan.”

He asked staff to work with Brock and any other partners to develop a timeline and budget to:

• identify a site;

• develop a business plan;

• develop a long-term agreement for financial sustainability.

Lightstone said any development Brock undertakes downtown will be wasted if it isn’t part of a comprehensive strategy to revitalize the core.

“I don’t think any centre will produce the desired multiplier effect if it’s not part of a comprehensive plan,” he said.

Up until Monday night, both Brock and the city were engaged in separate studies, although each had participated in the other’s committee.

Lightstone said he was there to report on the state of the discussions at Brock “so ideally we can move on as partners in what could and should be an exciting project.… What we are talking about is what could be a cultural and economic pillar of downtown renewal.”

But in order for Brock to “inconvenience” its staff, faculty and students who will be moved off-campus, it needs to know the city is prepared to develop a vision for their new home, he said.

Lightstone said the new centre’s design must ensure it becomes the “cultural hub for the city and for the region.”

Brock can partner with the city and Niagara Region to seek money for the development from the federal and provincial governments, Lightstone said.

Brock can also help with a fundraising campaign.

But the university wants to move “as quickly as it can,” he said.

As evidence of the city’s commitment to the project, it has already moved the city’s cultural services supervisor to city hall from a former location in a community centre and made the supervisor report directly to the acting CAO, McMullan said.

After councillors unanimously agreed to the new centre in principle, the people in the gallery applauded loudly.

“Normally, we don’t allow clapping,” McMullan said with a laugh.

Afterwards, McMullan said he is committed to seeing the performing arts centre “come to fruition,” and so is council.

“The political will is there,” he said. “In my opinion, this will be the catalyst that will bring untold economic benefits to our city and our downtown.”

The city has prepared numerous reports on the downtown, with one of the earliest going back to 1983, McMullan said.

“Of all the things attempted over the years, I think this will be the most significant thing we can do to revitalize the downtown.”

WHISTLERINMUSKOKA
Apr 25, 2007, 2:50 PM
What's going on with your new tallest u/c?

drafty
Apr 27, 2007, 3:39 PM
Still pouring the concrete foundations

http://www.accessniagara.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/20070425_hilton_progress.jpg
image from Access Niagara

mucciared
Apr 27, 2007, 9:47 PM
Historic Table Rock attraction receiving $32-million revamp


http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=503761&catname=Local+News&classif=

JENNIFER PELLEGRINI
Local News - Friday, April 27, 2007 Updated @ 7:31:45 AM

The Niagara Parks Commission has broken ground on a $32-million facelift to Table Rock House, a project chairman Jim Williams said will bring the 19th-century edifice into the 21st century.

Built in 1856, Table Rock has become one of the most popular landmarks in the city.

It has been upgraded a number of times since the Niagara Parks Commission took ownership in 1886, but said Williams, "(it) is no longer the stately facility it once was and deserves to be."

He said the improvements will not only make Table Rock fully accessible to visitors, it will become a year-round destination with covered walkways, panoramic views and more to entice people into the building to meet, eat and shop....

mucciared
May 19, 2007, 1:37 AM
Talk seems to have completely halted here :(

BIGGER VENUE, BIGGER ACTS
Casino eyes 5,000-seat entertainment centre

COREY LAROCQUE
Local News - Wednesday, May 16, 2007 Updated @ 6:55:03 AM

Putting more bums in more seats could be part of Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort's recipe for keeping its gamblers happy.

Falls Management Co., is considering adding a 5,000-seat entertainment centre to the casino, said casino spokesman Greg Medulun....

http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=530009&catname=Local%20News&classif=