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LikeHamilton
Oct 9, 2011, 9:17 PM
Picked up my Thanksgiving turkey on Friday from Reardon’s on 37 King William Street. He told me that will be my last turkey as he is going out of business on December 3rd. The street being closed was the last nail in the coffin. He thought of moving but could not find anyplace affordable. He said he would have to have large volume sales or go really high end and expensive to survive.
He said he will most likely end up at Sobey’s in Ancaster as they will allow him to work part-time and they need someone.
I will miss the place. I have been going there for years for my meats. Reardon's has been in Hamilton Since 1912.

Jon Dalton
Oct 10, 2011, 2:34 AM
That sucks. I wouldn't be surprised if Thai Memory follows suit not long after. Last time I was in there he said he was pretty sick of it.

It doesn't seem fair that the Lister deal took so much out of the businesses on that street who have survived on their own merits, while delivering a premium to the ones who relied on public subsidy.

drpgq
Oct 11, 2011, 4:09 PM
I can't believe how long it took to redo King William. Sad about Reardon's.

SteelTown
Oct 11, 2011, 4:50 PM
Councillor Collins asked about sending a letter to the building at the Northeast corner of King and James Street respecting the state of repair of their façade

• T. Mines indicated that the building’s real-estate agent is currently sending out tenders for façade restoration

Committee members requested that the Committee Clerk invite Glenn Norton to attend the next meeting to discuss the property on the Northeast corner of King and James Street and provide an overview of the program for increased grant opportunities for façade repairs prior to the Pan Am Games.


http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/8DEB7594-28DC-4FCD-993A-82C4C5E92FD0/0/Oct11EDRMS_n220846_v1_8_8_Cleanliness_Rep_11001.pdf

SteelTown
Oct 11, 2011, 4:53 PM
I'd be really happy if they fix that corner building at King and James.

SteelTown
Oct 14, 2011, 2:13 AM
Reardon’s beef: Rumoured to close

http://www.thespec.com/news/business/article/609120--reardon-s-beef-rumoured-to-close

The owner of an iconic downtown butcher shop isn’t commenting on rumours that Reardon’s Meats is wrapping up operations.

Customers of the King William Street store are reporting they are being told that the business will close in early December.

Paul Reardon refused to talk to a reporter Thursday, saying, “come back in January.”

The move comes as a surprise, both because the business would mark its 100th year in 2012 and because Paul’s daughter Katie had stepped forward to eventually become the fourth-generation operator of the business. She’s a graduate of the chef school at George Brown College.

The shop’s lease is up at the end of the year but in a Spectator story last year, Reardon vowed the business would carry on.

“We’re down here, we’ve always been down here and this is where we’re going to stay,” he said.

Customers say Reardon had searched for new space downtown but couldn’t find anything suitable.

King William has been torn up since early July to build a pedestrian-friendly art walk and businesses along the stretch have complained that it’s hurting their trade. The Last Call Bar & Grill at John Street closed in August. The work was supposed to be done in late September but the street is still blocked off.

Pat Satasuk, owner of Thai Memory a few doors west of Reardon’s, has written a blog on his website complaining about the effects of the construction that has surrounded his restaurant.

Downtown Councillor Jason Farr was unaware of the closure but said: “It’s hard to contemplate a downtown core without Reardon’s.”

Reardon’s dates back to 1912 when Irish brothers Burt and Fred Reardon opened at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market. The shop had a number of locations over the years, before landing in the shadow of the Lister Block at the corner of Hughson Street in the early 1970s.

Over the years, Reardon’s has been known for its dogged presence and advocacy of the downtown as much as for its corned beef, launching the first hotdog cart in the city and the hundreds of turkeys it sells at Christmas and Thanksgiving.

The store has survived the closing of dozens of Hamilton butcheries and the departure of so many downtown institutions — the Right House, the Chicken Roost, Zeller’s, Robinson’s, Eatons — and the gradual emptying and decay of the Lister Block.

The irony is that just as the Lister Block is ready to take on its new life, Reardon’s itself is closing.

thistleclub
Oct 14, 2011, 3:45 PM
Committee members requested that the Committee Clerk invite Glenn Norton to attend the next meeting to discuss the property on the Northeast corner of King and James Street and provide an overview of the program for increased grant opportunities for façade repairs prior to the Pan Am Games.

If I'm not mistaken, that building dates to the mid-1820s and was once home to Sir Allan MacNab’s law firm (the city’s first). Not sure what heritage value it now has.

SteelTown
Oct 14, 2011, 5:09 PM
Are the upper floors occupied along James St at the corner of King/James?

Looks old like the Treble Hall but the section along King doesn't look like it has any heritage value. Looks like a total mess.

flar
Oct 14, 2011, 6:14 PM
I'd love to see the buildings next door on King fixed up. There are awesome buildings hidden under those big signs, but they need a lot of work.

http://www.metroperspectives.com/img/v11/p769589935-5.jpg

matt602
Oct 14, 2011, 6:20 PM
I remember that I read that the facade under the Subway/Money Mart part was completely destroyed before the metal stuff was put over it. Even still, if the right amount of money were invested it could probably be replicated.

flar
Oct 14, 2011, 7:49 PM
If you look closely, that metal cover is just a screen. It is spaced out a few inches from the facade. But I'm sure it's in terrible shape and that protruding piece seen on the uncovered building below the fifth floor is definitely gone.

Dr Awesomesauce
Oct 15, 2011, 7:46 AM
Yeah, I'm also pretty sure the facade of that building was removed before those shite adverts were put up. Restoration might not be possible but a completely new facade would be a nice alternative.

If I recall correctly, it was built in the early part of the century for Mills China and Northways, a fashion shop. Both were very popular and persisted until the 80s, if I'm not mistaken. There are a few oldtimers on the forum who can correct me if I'm wrong. ;)

scott000
Oct 16, 2011, 4:59 AM
Is there no bylaw to forbid those types of giant adverts/ signs which cover building facades downtown?

I'm sure what's underneath isn't pretty but you can't much worse than a bunch of three-story money mart signs

SteelTown
Oct 16, 2011, 9:26 PM
I think those signs have been up since the 80's. So if we did have such a bylaw it would have been removed ages ago.

LikeHamilton
Oct 17, 2011, 12:57 AM
I'd love to see the buildings next door on King fixed up. There are awesome buildings hidden under those big signs, but they need a lot of work.

http://www.metroperspectives.com/img/v11/p769589935-5.jpg

This building February 1960. From the Spectator's Archives and the book "The Prints of Time" by Gary Evans.

http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/3695/scan0001po.jpg

thistleclub
Oct 17, 2011, 12:53 PM
Nice to see what was. But judging from the comparative setback of that mesh facade, all of those decorative details are likely gone. The cornices certainly seem to extend past the screen barrier. (http://g.co/maps/jk9b5) The Mills building, while visibly intact, isn't in great shape, either.

durandy
Oct 17, 2011, 1:12 PM
the Granada sign on the other hand looks like it could be taken down without too much trouble. That should happen!

NortheastWind
Oct 18, 2011, 1:01 AM
I'm not sure if this has been posted here or not but here's a time lapse video showing the demolition of the federal building, I guess from someones apartment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM-ldCQ2OZY

SteelTown
Oct 27, 2011, 1:55 PM
Hamilton, Ontario offers financing for renovation, restoration construction projects

DON PROCTER
correspondent
http://dcnonl.com/article/id47280/--hamilton-ontario-offers-financing-for-renovation-restoration-construction-projects

Downtown Hamilton is witnessing an increase in renovation and restoration of its historic building stock, much of which has sat vacant or under-used for decades.

About 150 to 200 jobs in knowledge-based and creative sectors have been generated annually in the core since 2008-09, says Glen Norton, manager of urban renewal for the city of Hamilton’s economic development division.

Those employers are choosing to locate in many of the downtown’s “funky old buildings,” he points out. “Old bare brick walls, creaky wooden floors and high beamed ceilings (for which the city’s core has a good supply) appeal to web developers, architects.”

The field of animation is a prime example. In the past two years four animation studios have set up shop, he says.

“We have a fairly old inner city core which a lot of people are fairly negative about so the more we can improve its image the more we improve the image of the entire city.”

It is not simply an improving economy that is propelling adaptive reuse developments though. Some Toronto employers and builders, fed up with that city’s costs, are moving to Hamilton where prices are decades lower.

The City of Hamilton is going after more such employers and builders through an advertising campaign in major Toronto daily newspapers about its developer-friendly incentives package for renovation/restoration projects in the inner city.

The city has nine incentives, one of which offers property owners a low-interest loan (one per cent below prime) and financing for 90 per cent of leasehold improvements with five years to repay.

“Banks won’t loan for leasehold improvements because they don’t have any collateral value, so we have been bridging that piece,” says Norton.

The incentive is for property owners with empty space that attract tenants from outside the city.

Other city incentives include matching grants for historic restoration and a grant-back program that has a five-year phase-in on property tax owed on the assessed value after improvements, says Norton.

“We want to accelerate the growth downtown so I am going to Council this fall to propose three more incentives.”

The most notable change in the core could be the redevelopment of the city’s grande Royal Connaught Hotel which has sat empty for most of the past decade.

A development team is looking at redeveloping it as a combination boutique hotel/condominium complex.

Another proposed development is the conversion of a federal government building into condo lofts.

Norton believes Hamilton incentive package is among the most comprehensive in Canada and the U.S., citing conversations with some American counterparts.

Dwils01
Nov 4, 2011, 8:54 PM
What's left of the old Federal Building.
http://i1128.photobucket.com/albums/m498/DWils01/Cities%20across%20the%20GTHA/011-2.jpg

What's left of Harvest Burger.
http://i1128.photobucket.com/albums/m498/DWils01/Cities%20across%20the%20GTHA/010-1.jpg

Staybridge Hotel is starting on the 3rd floor.
http://i1128.photobucket.com/albums/m498/DWils01/Cities%20across%20the%20GTHA/012-2.jpg

Pigott Building is getting a green roof. :P
http://i1128.photobucket.com/albums/m498/DWils01/Cities%20across%20the%20GTHA/013.jpg

Pictures by me from November 2.

NortheastWind
Nov 5, 2011, 1:55 PM
Staybridge Hotel is starting on the 3rd floor.
http://i1128.photobucket.com/albums/m498/DWils01/Cities%20across%20the%20GTHA/012-2.jpg

:omg: Where's the Ministry of Labour inspectors when you need them? It appears that guy standing on the edge is not tied off, nor is he wearing a safety harness. There's no fall arrest gear at all. Who's the contractor? They obviously don't care about safety. Sad really when you hear of all the fatalities in construction lately.

urban_planner
Nov 5, 2011, 10:00 PM
Not that I care that much but Its pretty hard to tell with the sky behind him washed out. Maybe the contractor tell them to do it but this guy is ignoring it. There is anothe worker on the ground and you can see that he is wearing a harness.

On a side not I was by here on friday(Nov 4th) in the afternoon and Vraich was there he saw me taking a photo of wheats left of the Federal building asked me if he could help me to which I said no just taking a photo. At that point he asked me what I did for living which I told him I work at a Car Dealership and he lost intrest. Too bad I wanted to find out some more info about the various projects. He was also seen previous to this going into a house just west of the stay bridge.

urban_planner
Nov 5, 2011, 10:01 PM
Something else I notice there is a new flower ship opening soon on James North just North of the old tivoli site. Not sure if its been mentioned on here or not.

I do however this its a great business to have on the street.

durandy
Nov 6, 2011, 6:27 PM
Not that I care that much but Its pretty hard to tell with the sky behind him washed out. Maybe the contractor tell them to do it but this guy is ignoring it. There is anothe worker on the ground and you can see that he is wearing a harness.

On a side not I was by here on friday(Nov 4th) in the afternoon and Vraich was there he saw me taking a photo of wheats left of the Federal building asked me if he could help me to which I said no just taking a photo. At that point he asked me what I did for living which I told him I work at a Car Dealership and he lost intrest. Too bad I wanted to find out some more info about the various projects. He was also seen previous to this going into a house just west of the stay bridge.

I think they either own or have rented that house out for project management. How did you know it was Vranich? He keeps himself as far away from the media as he can.

urban_planner
Nov 6, 2011, 7:18 PM
I am pretty sure it was vranich based off I asked him if he was the guy doing all of thisand he said yes, and the fact he was wandering around the construction site in a pretty nice looking suit.

matt602
Nov 6, 2011, 10:43 PM
He wandered up to me in about the same fashion many years ago when I was taking photos of the Federal building. Pretty much the same thing, he asked if he could "help me", I told him I was taking photos because I liked the building. I asked him what his plans were with it and suddenly he became very uninterested with the conversation. I suppose this was because at that point in time he had no plans at all.

palace1
Nov 11, 2011, 10:21 PM
This ad was in a Downtown Update email from the Downtown BIA:
"Royal Court is a new, luxury Class 'A' and LEED Candidate office building for lease with exceptional amenities and sustainable design in the downtown core, across from the Sopinka Court House. Building amenities include; fitness club, presentation centre and boardroom, lounge facilities, roof top terraces, shower and lockers, bicycle storage and custom storage facilities - all for occupants use only. Up to 33, 428 sq. ft. is available. Visit www.royalcourt.ca for all details on this unique leasing opportunity."

This is the Crazy Horse Saloon building that has recently had the first level boarded up with black plywood (including the alleyway!) behind the Royal Connaught.

The website has no estimated date for completion...

urban_planner
Nov 12, 2011, 12:29 AM
I drove past here today and notice a over side walk sign in big black letters saying Now Leasing.

Jon Dalton
Nov 12, 2011, 5:55 AM
Looks like a decent concept and some competent firms are involved in the design and planning, but have they researched the demand for office space in Hamilton? Perhaps they feel the demand will materialize around a superior product. That is also what Stinson insisted with regards to his condo proposals. I can see where they are coming from, but still find it pretty far fetched to propose a whole new office building here. We still have buildings from the 1970's that have never been near fully occupied.

Dwils01
Nov 19, 2011, 4:14 AM
The city has started putting up Christmas decorations. There where a lot of lane closures along Main Street. Saw the tree go in at city hall. Didn't take a look at Gore Park though.

Was in Dundas around 11:00pm on Thursday and saw city crews putting big reefs by each light pole. It look weird because the garbage was out that night for pick up the next day.

CaptainKirk
Nov 19, 2011, 4:31 AM
... saw city crews putting big reefs by each light pole. It look weird...


Maybe not for Spongebob.

http://www.1000jogos.biz/content/icons/SpongeBobReefRumble.jpg

http://images.mudfooted.com/coral_reef_ecosystem_fish.jpg

bigguy1231
Nov 20, 2011, 4:33 AM
The city has started putting up Christmas decorations. There where a lot of lane closures along Main Street. Saw the tree go in at city hall. Didn't take a look at Gore Park though.

Was in Dundas around 11:00pm on Thursday and saw city crews putting big reefs by each light pole. It look weird because the garbage was out that night for pick up the next day.

It's wreaths not reefs.

Duckyboy
Nov 21, 2011, 6:34 PM
Maybe not for Spongebob.

http://www.1000jogos.biz/content/icons/SpongeBobReefRumble.jpg

http://images.mudfooted.com/coral_reef_ecosystem_fish.jpg

Laughed out loud here at work... nice one.

Dwils01
Nov 22, 2011, 12:16 AM
It's wreaths not reefs.

You are correct. That was a pretty stupid mistake for me to make.

Now that I think about it, CaptainKirk post makes sense. :haha:

SteelTown
Nov 29, 2011, 7:48 PM
Looking over our next proposed budget and found an interesting thing...

Hamilton Downtown Grocery Stores Financial Incentive
$650,000

Looks like Hamilton is going to give an incentive for a grocery store in downtown Hamilton.

Others I noticed that sounds good:

Publicly Funded Educational Campuses in the Downtown
$430,000

Symbolic Gateway Features to Identify Areas of Downtown and the Waterfront
$200,000

Downtown Benches
$50,000

Gore Master Plan, Pilot Pedestrianization Initiative
$100,000

Hamilton Downtown Commercial Facade Property Improvement Grant Program
$400,000

The "Gore" Building Improvement Grant Program
$525,000

CaptainKirk
Nov 29, 2011, 8:03 PM
Looking over our next proposed budget and found an interesting thing...

Hamilton Downtown Grocery Stores Financial Incentive
$650,000

I think an ideal spot for that would be on the ground floor of the western building of the Royal Connuaght on the corner of King and John. Could be a catalyst for some vibrant pedestrian activity along the Gore Park area and a catlayst for any condo/hotel project involving the Royal Connaught itself.

Jon D
Nov 29, 2011, 10:33 PM
A downtown grocery store is very much needed. One of the major selling points of living downtown is being able to walk everywhere. The closest grocery store at the moment to downtown (excluding farmers market) is one heck of a hike for most residents, probably too far to be considered walkable by most.

I just hope that if we do get a grocery store DT, it's something a little higher quality than a sketchy no-frills or food basics!

matt602
Nov 30, 2011, 1:34 AM
I think that one of those urban format Sobeys stores you see in Toronto would be great here. I always thought the BMO pavilion would make a nice place for it, but nearly anywhere downtown would be just as good. Part of a new mixed use structure would work great as well, maybe in the ground floor of any new condo development.

I wonder what the Gore building finance is for. More aggressive advertisement?

SteelTown
Nov 30, 2011, 1:40 AM
"The "Gore" Building Improvement Grant Program" will be for buildings only facing Gore Park. The building with Subway and Money Mart ads could get a grant to restore the facade.

Dr Awesomesauce
Nov 30, 2011, 7:32 AM
The old Kresge's would be perfect for a supermarket but I suppose it's not available.

Those buildings at the Gore need more than just a little facade work. Some of them are 150+ years old and have been under-used for decades. If serious work isn't done soon they're going to come down, one-by-one, just like Caesar's beside HSBC...that would be disastrous.

SteelTown
Nov 30, 2011, 2:11 PM
I have a hunch that a supermarket will go at the vacant lot at Main St from Hess to Caroline. Good size and could hold an LCBO as well. The downtown area needs a good LCBO with better selections.

coalminecanary
Nov 30, 2011, 2:44 PM
I wrote a scathing letter to the LCBO about the pathetic state of the Jackson Square store and actually got a response - that they are waiting for an opportunity to open a large format store downtown.

I replied - "what are you waiting for, do I need to take you by the hand and show you all the available space?" - no answer of course.

I suspect that they are waiting for an opportunity for a large store with lots of parking - like the large format shoppers that recently went in.

Nobody seems to be able to understand that downtown Hamilton is... well... downtown. These retailers seem to have an attitude that if they can't build a suburban store downtown then they might as well build nothing.

As for the grocery store, I'd love to see delta bingo be replaced by one...

markbarbera
Nov 30, 2011, 5:54 PM
A grocery store and/or LCBO in Hamilton City Centre would be nice. Lots of available space in there.

mattgrande
Dec 1, 2011, 1:39 PM
Not to mention there's already parking underground.

oldcoote
Dec 1, 2011, 8:01 PM
The people behind the Big Bee convenience stores are actively looking to open a large grocery store format in the downtown. Haven't yet found suitable space.

fuller
Dec 1, 2011, 9:27 PM
That would be a good development but I would hope they retain the services of a graphic artist before doing something like that.

The downtown area doesn't need any more garish signage.

durandy
Dec 2, 2011, 3:49 AM
I can highly recommend the new bakery on Dundurn, located where this place used to be just N of Aberdeen: http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=dundurn+and+aberdeen,+hamilton+on&ll=43.251998,-79.892347&spn=0.002161,0.005284&hnear=Aberdeen+Ave+%26+Dundurn+St+S,+Hamilton,+Hamilton+Division,+Ontario+L8P+4L6&gl=ca&t=h&z=18&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=43.252151,-79.892278&panoid=XfPaaWg2jdk6_bIJ2ltJyQ&cbp=12,100.2,,0,1.83

someone smashed their window and robbed them last weekend, apparently the bread bar as well. A criminal with good taste in baked goods.

mattgrande
Dec 2, 2011, 1:20 PM
I think that means it's the third time Bread Bar has had their windows smashed.

SteelTown
Dec 2, 2011, 2:13 PM
What the hell? I love the Bread Bar, one of the best in Hamilton.

CaptainKirk
Dec 2, 2011, 5:40 PM
I'm hearing Jackson Square, where the temporary farmers' market was, but the company (whoever they are) wants more space.

bolognium
Dec 2, 2011, 10:54 PM
Good luck with the grocery store, guys. London's fighting the same fight, but I think we still have a ways to go. I'd imagine Hamilton has more people living in its core, so if you guys are still lacking a grocer then London's probably even further behind.

Do you guys think your downtown grocery store financial incentive will make a difference?

SteelTown
Dec 3, 2011, 6:24 PM
I think it's at the point a grocery store chain is looking for a good downtown location. It's not a matter of if but when. Obviously the incentive works.

Got a new owner for City Centre and the City was very hush hush about the deal and vision for the place. So I wouldn't be surprised. Be great open up the facade along James and have a grocery store.

thistleclub
Dec 3, 2011, 6:58 PM
The people behind the Big Bee convenience stores are actively looking to open a large grocery store format in the downtown. Haven't yet found suitable space.

Coincidentally, the new Staybridge is behind a Big Bee. I concue with SteelTown's: Main/Caroline would be workable – that site was once to have held a Shoppers, if memory serves. Make that $650K cheque out to Vrancor and get over the optics.


Publicly Funded Educational Campuses in the Downtown
$430,000

Seems like a trifling sum as incentives go. Might cover haulage on 100 Main West.

Symbolic Gateway Features to Identify Areas of Downtown and the Waterfront
$200,000

Have to say I'm not really a fan of these. We already have kitschy gateways for downtown and Hess Village, and for Bayfront Park (mercifully, the gigantic old-timey Library/Market sign that hung like the sword of Damocles over two lanes of traffic was scrapped as part of the renovations). I'm not convinced that more signage is going to add any real value to neighbourhoods, and it has a way of junking up the area – Westdale's McDonalds-coloured neo-retro columns are one of the more recent examples. The city could do loads of non-symbolic things to encourage neighbourhood identity, practical initiatives that didn't involve planting steel-and-concrete obelisks in the thoroughfare. But the city has long had a love affair with sidewalk urbanism -- prettying up things with stamped concrete, old-timey benches, street names in the sidewalk, faux-Victorian light posts, and so forth. Never much aesthetic consistency or quality control, but it's something to do.

Dr Awesomesauce
Dec 4, 2011, 1:25 AM
^Agreed.

I mean really, do you think Paris has a big sign saying "Bienvenue au centre-ville"???

Let's cool it with the gateway features and focus more on bricks and mortar.

LikeHamilton
Dec 4, 2011, 7:57 PM
Reardon's is now closed. Their last day was yesterday, Saturday December 3, 2011. And after being downtown for 99 years it is all over. He had a customer appreciation day yesterday to say goodbye. Very sad.

bornagainbiking
Dec 4, 2011, 8:28 PM
They did say on the news they are considering a new location downtown. Maybe the farmers market? Who knows.
Something with parking.

palace1
Dec 5, 2011, 2:41 AM
(Cake & Loaf is the bakery where the windows were smashed, not Earth to Table Bread Bar. They were selling window-shaped cookies to recoup the loss)

Sorry to hear about Reardon's closing.

On a positive note:

U Shao BBQ at 37 John St. S. is now open for business. All-you-can-eat Korean BBQ.

Steel House Grill was open on Saturday night in the old Al Centro spot in Gore Park (24 King St E). The sign out front was advertising beer and wings.

mattgrande
Dec 5, 2011, 1:44 PM
(Cake & Loaf is the bakery where the windows were smashed, not Earth to Table Bread Bar. They were selling window-shaped cookies to recoup the loss)

Sorry to hear about Reardon's closing.

On a positive note:

U Shao BBQ at 37 John St. S. is now open for business. All-you-can-eat Korean BBQ.

Steel House Grill was open on Saturday night in the old Al Centro spot in Gore Park (24 King St E). The sign out front was advertising beer and wings.

Have you (or anyone?) tried U Shao? How was it?

CaptainKirk
Dec 5, 2011, 3:49 PM
Have you (or anyone?) tried U Shao? How was it?

I walked by Friday night and it was about 80% full!

Talked to a gentleman as he left the place, and he raved about it.

SteelTown
Dec 7, 2011, 12:59 AM
Reardon's is now closed. Their last day was yesterday, Saturday December 3, 2011. And after being downtown for 99 years it is all over. He had a customer appreciation day yesterday to say goodbye. Very sad.

There is now butcher paper covering the windows and doors. The display cases and fridges are empty. Chairs and tables are stacked up inside and there will be an auction on Sunday at 2 p.m. to sell off most of the equipment.

But they are keeping a deli slicer and a couple of other things because they aren’t retiring for good. The charming, timeless storefront has closed, but the Reardons aren’t packing it in. They’ll continue operating a hotdog cart downtown (they were the first in the city to have one) and they are looking for a scaled-back operation, likely with a focus on the deli, prepared foods and something with a catering element.

No more fresh meat, though.

“The meat market is finished as far as I’m concerned,” said Paul. “You can’t make money on meat. My dad told me that 28 years ago. ”

http://www.thespec.com/news/business/article/635432--reardon-s-isn-t-completely-pulling-up-steaks-downtown

durandy
Dec 7, 2011, 4:58 AM
someone should have put Reardon's on Maple Leaf foods' radar nine months ago. That could have been a marketing coup - Maple Leaf with a local presence that's original, downtown, and historic, and probably in line with the trend toward mass produced 'local' and 'foodie' goods. Really sad story this.

LikeHamilton
Dec 13, 2011, 2:47 AM
From the 2012 capital budget


Police Investigative Services Division Headquarters $1,500,000

CaptainKirk
Dec 26, 2011, 9:12 PM
What I found interesting in Mayor Bratina's recent interview with the Spec editorial board, he talked about moving the rail yards form the West harbour lands as if it's a distinct and real possibility.

If he's not blowing more smoke, then I'd think that area could get quite more attractive to developers.


Mayor Bratinas interview with the Spec's editorial board (http://www.livestream.com/thespec/share?clipId=pla_50a7e304-43ef-4da1-820a-2211cbaa2bc1)

26:40, he talks about interested developers for WH

29:00, 200 acres of railyards available in the future for development

30:00, Bratina believes it will be developed, new relationship with CN.

33:30, Railway interested in relocating rail yards, and Mayor confident it will happen.

SteelTown
Dec 26, 2011, 9:42 PM
It won't be cheap. Think CP wanted $50 million to relocate when the Ticats wanted the stadium around Chedoke.

matt602
Dec 26, 2011, 10:15 PM
CN was never interested in moving those yards. If you recall a recent Spectator article on the West Harbor, it indicated that CN was taking an "over my dead body" stance on the issue. Unless some kind of development has happened, I have no idea what Bratina is talking about.

SteelTown
Dec 26, 2011, 11:29 PM
^ There's a new guy running CN and Bratina says he's more willing to listen to the city than the prevous director of CN.

If anyone can make it happen it'll be Bratina, we all know he's a train fanatic.

I remember there were talks to relocate the CN yard to Aldershot. But I doubt that will happen, it'll likely have to be relocated to Stoney Creek/Grismby area.

thistleclub
Dec 31, 2011, 5:52 PM
Old news, but some may welcome the detail.

The “Gore” Building Improvement Grant Program (GBIGP) is introduced as a three-year program for the purpose of supporting the maintenance, attractiveness, functionality and viability of the historic building stock that fronts on King Street East between James Street and Catharine Street, known as the “Gore”. The program is intended to provide financial assistance to bring existing properties to present-day Property Standards and Sign By-law requirements and, to improve upon their accessibility. Applicants will have to provide a business case that identifies how the proposed work will improve the marketability of the property for prospective tenants and/or improve the business vitality and/or utilization of formerly under-utilized upper floors. The program will deter further physical decay of the building stock in the “Gore” and assist in breathing new life into formerly underutilized space.

The GBIGP offers a matching grant to a maximum of $50,000 per property. Eligible work includes signage, façade improvements, reinforcement of floors, walls, ceilings and foundations, roofing, central air-conditioning, furnaces, fire protection systems and
barrier-free accessibility including elevators.

{PDF (http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/0151280D-36F1-4FBC-91E6-32F22D646BDE/0/Oct11EDRMS_n221354_v1_7_2__PED11167.pdf)}

mattgrande
Jan 1, 2012, 7:04 PM
Recently posted on Twitter by DC93: http://www.czarchitect.com/locke-street

It's apparently going where the old Asian supermarket was.

thistleclub
Jan 1, 2012, 11:01 PM
Interesting, if not strictly downtown.

Would be nice to see some serious investment north of the tracks.... would offer a good visual counterweight to the Good Shepherd's Taylor Apartments.

NuclearNerd
Jan 2, 2012, 6:01 AM
That site also shows a "conceptual design" for a seniors residence on Dundurn. Presumably this was (is?) a plan for 220 Dundurn (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/archive/index.php/t-140247.html)? If so, I'm disappointed. Instead of a multi-use building that engages the street, it's a low rise with huge setbacks facing a parking lot in back. 220 would be the perfect place to relocate the liquor store, if nothing else.

Back on topic: I'm happy to see more development in my neighbourhood, but I worry about this and similar projects. I thought there was an excess of condos in Hamilton (Realtor.ca shows a bunch available at Core Lofts and Chateau Royale). It's hard to find buyers willing to pay more than the average used home price (esp. with fees), even in the Locke St Area.

Recently posted on Twitter by DC93: http://www.czarchitect.com/locke-street

It's apparently going where the old Asian supermarket was.

BCTed
Jan 2, 2012, 4:02 PM
I wrote a scathing letter to the LCBO about the pathetic state of the Jackson Square store and actually got a response - that they are waiting for an opportunity to open a large format store downtown.

I replied - "what are you waiting for, do I need to take you by the hand and show you all the available space?" - no answer of course.


I would not respond to an unnecessarily rude message like that either!

SteelTown
Jan 11, 2012, 2:23 PM
A new high school at the West Harbour?

Close Delta, Parkview and Sir John A.: ARC says

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/652753--close-delta-parkview-and-sir-john-a-arc-says

A volunteer committee assembled to look at the future of secondary schools in the lower city says the public board should shutter Delta, Parkview and Sir John A. Macdonald to combat declining enrolment.

But Parkview’s unique special education program should be preserved in a new 167,000-square-foot high school constructed in the city core.

padthai
Jan 12, 2012, 2:17 AM
A new high school at the West Harbour?

Can't tell if that was sarcasm or not... article says it'll be built somewhere between Sir John A. and Delta. Not many spots in between there....maybe Scott Park? :haha:

flar
Jan 12, 2012, 3:48 PM
It'd be a shame if Delta closes, great building.

thistleclub
Jan 13, 2012, 4:48 PM
The KitKat signage on the King and James variety has been replaced with what appears to be aluminum siding or corrugated plate. Saw it last night - not sure if that's a base they're building on if they're just rocking a fresh ghetto-budget aesthetic. Time will tell.

Dr Awesomesauce
Jan 16, 2012, 8:28 AM
That building is seriously nasty. It's old, very old, but it's been degraded to the point where it has little heritage value left. I believe it was built by none other than Mr Dundurn Castle himself in the 1840s.

Anyway, I recall reading that the City wants the owner to fix it up, so maybe this is step one, as you suggest.

LikeHamilton
Jan 26, 2012, 5:05 PM
More job growth in downtown Hamilton

Ken Mann 900CHML.com 1/26/2012

More good news about Hamilton's downtown core.

Recently released numbers from the City's annual downtown employment survey shows almost a 20 per cent growth in the creative industries sector.

In addition, 75 per cent of downtown jobs are coming from the private sector and there's a total increase of 330 jobs over the 2010 total.

The growth in the Creative Industries sector includes animation studios locating/expanding in the core, such as Pipeline Studios, Huminah Huminah, Chuck Gammage and Elliott Animation; the growth in education (165 new jobs) includes the National Academy of Health and Business, College Boreal, the existing McMaster Downtown Centre and the reopened Dr. J. Edgar Davey Public School.

http://www.900chml.com/Channels/Reg/NewsLocalGeneral/Story.aspx?ID=1645253

Duckyboy
Jan 26, 2012, 6:36 PM
More job growth in downtown Hamilton

Ken Mann 900CHML.com 1/26/2012

More good news about Hamilton's downtown core.

Recently released numbers from the City's annual downtown employment survey shows almost a 20 per cent growth in the creative industries sector.

In addition, 75 per cent of downtown jobs are coming from the private sector and there's a total increase of 330 jobs over the 2010 total.

The growth in the Creative Industries sector includes animation studios locating/expanding in the core, such as Pipeline Studios, Huminah Huminah, Chuck Gammage and Elliott Animation; the growth in education (165 new jobs) includes the National Academy of Health and Business, College Boreal, the existing McMaster Downtown Centre and the reopened Dr. J. Edgar Davey Public School.

http://www.900chml.com/Channels/Reg/NewsLocalGeneral/Story.aspx?ID=1645253


The most important part of that statement is "75 per cent of downtown jobs are coming from the private sector"... good to hear.

It's the only indicator of any potential long-term growth for Hamilton; if private firms deem it financially-viable to set up shop here, that can only be a good thing (economy-wise).

thistleclub
Jan 26, 2012, 8:39 PM
Coloured somewhat by the incentive of OCASE tax credits, but a welcome turn. Will be interested to read the full report.

SteelTown
Jan 27, 2012, 1:28 AM
Creative industry jobs flowing into downtown Hamilton

http://www.thespec.com/news/business/article/661550--creative-industry-jobs-flowing-into-downtown-hamilton

A new report from the city’s economic development department shows a gain of 695 jobs in the core, led by big increases in the creative, educational and scientific areas. Those boosts were partly offset by the loss of 375 positions mainly in the finance and government sectors. That’s a net gain of 320.

“This tells us that a good trend is continuing downtown,” said Glen Norton, urban renewal manager with the city’s economic development office. “This is going to be good information for people looking to make a decision about where to locate their businesses.”

This is the second time the city has gathered core area employment numbers and the first time the report has been expanded to include the suburban downtowns of Dundas, Stoney Creek, Ancaster, Waterdown and Binbrook.

Mayor Bob Bratina said the statistics show a trend he has been observing for the past three or four years, reinforced by the fact tax revenues from downtown properties have risen more than $1 million since 2005.

“I have to relate part of it to our incentive programs and part to changes in perception,” he said.

On the perception side, Bratina noted institutions like the McMaster Innovation Park bring new people to Hamilton, opening their eyes to a city they haven’t really seen.

“New people beget new people and the more people sample us, the more word gets out,” he said. “We’re starting to get our act together — we were bad news across the country a couple of years ago because of the stadium thing, but now we’ve put that to bed.”

In total, the study showed 23,925 jobs at 1,574 locations in the Downtown Hamilton Urban Growth Centre — the area roughly bounded by Victoria, Queen, Hunter and Cannon streets, plus James Street between the bay and base of the Mountain.

While 25 per cent of downtown jobs are held by government workers (federal, provincial and municipal) the majority of employment is in the private sector.

Norton said over the past decade, downtown has gained an average of 150 jobs a year. The 2011 figures, however, tell him the trend is gaining momentum.

“Who knows, maybe next year it will be even more,” he said.

Norton said the growth of jobs in the core is being fed by several factors — a good stock of affordable office space, no lost time and productivity while workers commute, government incentives and the chance for workers to afford a better life in Hamilton than they could get in Toronto.

“I’d just hate to think what you’d have to earn to afford a home in Toronto now, where the average price is $400,000,” he said. “Here you can get a really good place to live for $250,000.”

The growth in core-area employment is being mirrored by a rise in people living there — drawn by the chance to walk to work from a condo apartment. That increase in residents is drawn from both ends of the age scale — younger workers attracted to the core’s new animation studios and offices, and empty-nesters downsizing from big suburban houses.

“A lot of people of this current generation have a different dream than their parents did,” Norton said. “They don’t want the suburban dream; they want the urban lifestyle. That’s why we’re seeing many North American inner cities come back to life.”

The growth in core area jobs was exciting news for city councillor Jason Farr, who represents the core.

“I’ve been doing somersaults over this news for the last hour,” he said. “We’ve always said you don’t have to be on Bay Street or in a trendy Toronto neighbourhood to do business, and this shows people are buying into that message.”

Farr also had praise for the economic development department and especially the urban renewal section.

“These results show the urban renewal division is better than it has ever been,” he said. “They’ve done a terrific job of getting the word out.”

Coupled with the growth in employment, the downtown core is seeing a slow but steady drop in its office vacancy rate. January’s rate was 12 per cent compared to 13.2 per cent for the same period in 2010 and 19 per cent four years ago.

“It’s clear the more people we have working down there, the more space they’re going to need,” Norton said. “We’re still a couple of years from seeing any new construction or from where owners can raise their rents, but the pace is good.”

The going rate of top-grade office space in the core today is between $23 and $27 per square foot, about half the rent for comparable space in the GTA.

The city report shows downtown employment in the creative arts sector grew by 20 per cent last year to just over 2,000 jobs while government employment in all forms fell 2.7 per cent to 5,715. Creative industry growth includes animation studios locating or expanding in the core, such as Pipeline Studios, Huminah Huminah, Chuck Gammage and Elliott Animation.

In the educational sector, 165 new jobs were added, including the National Academy of Health and Business, College Boreal, the existing McMaster Downtown Centre and the reopened Dr. J. Edgar Davey Public School.

The survey also found over half of the businesses in the cores of Hamilton and its suburbs had fewer than five employees. In Ancaster, 835 jobs at 105 locations were identified. Binbrook was home to 115 jobs in 23 locations; Dundas has 168 locations accounting for 1,005 jobs. Stoney Creek supports 565 jobs at 107 locations while Waterdown has 186 locations providing 1,235 jobs.

thistleclub
Jan 27, 2012, 4:51 AM
Net 320 jobs is a positive, but it's ultimately a slender edge on 2010's numbers (~1.3% net labour force growth vs 1.5% for the CMA (http://www.thespec.com/news/business/article/653166--slow-growth-expected-for-hamilton-says-outlook)), and there are enough blank spots here (corresponding lack of residential development being a perennial favourite) that we should not lose sight of the bigger picture. Would be interesting to see how wages stack up as well, and how many of those downtown workers live in the survey area as well. Based on city employment/density targets for 2030, we should be adding 600 jobs and/or residents each year. Adding jobs is one thing, but if serious residential development downtown is deferred, downtown Hamilton will continue to be a place that's largely closed at 6pm most nights of the week.

Dr Awesomesauce
Jan 27, 2012, 6:58 AM
I like how Bob brought-up the stadium as if it has anything to do with people's perceptions of Hamilton. Most Canadians outside Ontario either A) have never heard of the Ti-Cats, B) have heard of them but aren't really sure where they play or C) have no idea there was a stadium shit-storm. I guess he thinks it's a feather in his cap ~ not sure how many Hamiltonians would agree.

Perhaps now, though, most Hamiltonians will recognize the importance of the creative sector in this city's economy. Let's keep the ball rolling...

SteelTown
Jan 27, 2012, 5:26 PM
http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/19BF4613-CC76-491C-9B6C-E2393504B378/0/Jan25Item85.pdf

Jason Farr's motion "That staff be requested to provide Council with an update on the status of the Community Correction Centre located at 94 York Blvd., Ward 2."

SteelTown
Jan 28, 2012, 1:34 PM
Crane spotting
Things are booming

http://www.thespec.com/news/business/article/662234--crane-spotting

Crane spotting is set to overtake hand-wringing as the preoccupation in downtown Hamilton this year.

City officials say there are enough projects in the works to see up to eight construction cranes dotting the skyline in 2012, certainly a sight not seen in a very long time.

“My guess is that it would be unparalleled in the city’s history,” said Glen Norton, manager of the urban renewal division. “Perhaps in the ’60s or ’70s when they were building Jackson Square and Hamilton Place, but I doubt there’s ever been seven or eight cranes in this city’s downtown at once.”

While some of these projects have broken ground, others are still commitments on paper only. Two have just recently passed Ontario Municipal Board appeals.

Norton cautions that there are no guarantees that every proposed project will happen in 2012 — market conditions, financing arrangements and a range of business decisions could delay or even halt some of them.

What he is hopeful about is the long-agonized-over Royal Connaught, which many see as the linchpin of a true downtown renaissance. No deals have been announced and the property owners are silent, yet city officials say there is something in the works at the vacant hotel.

So the guy charged with turning around the downtown is pumped.

“How good will it be to see cranes downtown? Most people can’t remember when they saw cranes downtown.”

Norton says there are other projects in the pipeline that could boost the crane count but it’s too early to discuss them publicly.

The biggest development is Darko Vranich’s $125-million condo and hotel plan in a block of land bounded by King, Main, Bay and Hess. He plans four buildings, containing 600 condo units, two hotels and retail space. The first hotel, a 129-room Staybridge at the corner of George and Caroline is under construction.

It is seen as an important link between the Hess entertainment district and the core.

The next biggest is the McMaster health campus, planned for what is now the home of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board head office at Main and Bay. That $80-million development is expected bring more than 360 employees, 4,000 students and 54,000 patients downtown.

Mac and the school board are still negotiating a deal on the property.

Another key project is Acclamation Lofts on James Street North. Architect John Mokrycke says the plan for a seven-storey mixed use development was upheld in an OMB appeal earlier this month.

“We can apply for building permits as soon as the design is finished, and the developer is bugging me to get it done.”

The $20-million plan put forward by the Roque family, owners of Acclamation Bar and Grill and a local roofing company, calls for 60 condo units, retail space on the ground floor, an expanded restaurant, banquet hall and office space.

Mokrycke says his client is eager to get moving because of market demand.

“There is huge demand in the Hamilton market but there hasn’t been the product there. A large number of people want to move downtown.”

A plan by Options for Homes Hamilton to erect a 12-storey, 110-unit mixed income condo at the corner of Queen and King also recently cleared hurdles at the OMB over height and parking variances.

The project, estimated at roughly $25 million, still needs site plan approval and a building permit, said project co-ordinator Matt Childs. It is to be built on the site of a closed Anglican church that has fallen into disrepair.

Options for Homes, a Toronto company with affiliates elsewhere, is a nonprofit that offers zero interest second mortgages for down payments to those who couldn’t afford home ownership under traditional financing.

Other projects are well under way.

The first of three planned nine-storey City Square condo towers sold out last year and is under construction. Work is slated to begin this year on the second tower. The location, at Park and Robinson streets, is the home of the former Thistle Club.

The same developer, New Horizon Development Group, is also part of Urban West, a 33-unit condo development being constructed on the site of a former Tim Hortons outlet at Dundurn and Aberdeen.

The potential wild card in all the optimism is the Royal Connaught. The former grand hotel has been the focus of a number of failed dreams since it saw its last overnight guest in 2004.

Plans for the Connaught — revealed by city officials in August but never publicly commented on by developers Tony Valeri and Rudi Spallacci — point to ambitions to redevelop the 13-storey building as a boutique hotel and condos, adding two storeys to the structure.

“If (the developers) make the progress they’re hoping for, it’s not out of the question to see a crane there this year,” said Norton.

He says there are several reasons why the cranes may be lining up in the core. The first is a growing desire among young people and boomers to live downtown, which is reviving many North American cities.

“People want to be able to walk to amenities and take transit to work. The empty nesters are saying, ‘Why am I driving out to the suburbs every night? I want to live downtown.’”

Norton himself is in that demographic and will move into a condo in the Witton Lofts when the Murray Street development in a former school is completed.

As the demand grows, so does the price people are willing to pay to buy downtown. That makes it financially feasible for developers to build new condos or retrofit older buildings, says Norton.

Bank financing has loosened and city incentives, including waived development charges and residential loan programs, have helped make downtown projects more attractive for property owners.

Norton says buying a condo in downtown Hamilton is a lifestyle choice as opposed to a necessity, as it is in Toronto or Vancouver.

“People there can’t afford single family homes in the city and don’t want to commute from the suburbs, so they don’t have a choice but to buy a condo. It’s different in Hamilton.”

Along with residential growth, job numbers are climbing. Numbers revealed this week by the city show net growth of 320 jobs downtown, mostly in the creative, scientific and education sectors. That’s more than double the average yearly job growth of the past decade.

There are 23,925 jobs at 1,574 locations in the urban centre, bounded roughly by Victoria, Queen, Hunter and Cannon and including James Street, North and South.

CaptainKirk
Jan 28, 2012, 4:04 PM
Businesses flocking downtown

http://www.thespec.com/news/business/article/662272--businesses-flocking-downtown

Ivan Mavrinac has joined a race downtown.

The owner of I.M. Leathers shifted his business from the corner of Ray and Hunter, where it was located for 35 years, to King Street East near Ferguson.

His is among almost three dozen businesses that decided to call downtown home in 2011.

Mavrinac, who specializes in creating customized leather suits for motorcycle racers, says he’s enjoyed his move to the core.

“The people here are friendly, there’s a nice attitude and there is lots of traffic past the storefront.”

He got tired of maintaining his property on Ray and sold it. He wants to rent so that he can concentrate on his work, which also includes fashion items, such as coats, shirts and chaps — and a growing market in downhill skateboarders.

His racing suits, which are reinforced with knee pads and elbow pads, can withstand crashes at 200 miles an hour.

Mavrinac, who has sold his work to major retailers and created custom stagewear for musicians, says he’s looking forward to turning the front of his shop into a gallery space for his work and for local jewellers and artists.

His store, nestled between the venerable Black Forest Inn and a nail salon, was once a nail salon.

“There is a growing artsy feel along here,” he said.

“My job is to take someone’s vision and bring it to life. … Every job is an adventure.”

Together, the Downtown Hamilton BIA and the International Village BIA added 35 new merchants and other companies to their memberships. The list includes retailers, financial services, arts and media groups, restaurants and health clinics.

In addition, a specialty book store and a tattoo parlour, will soon open in the International Village.

Glen Norton, the city’s manager of urban renewal, says there are probably another 10 or so new businesses on James Street that aren’t included in the BIA numbers.

He says the walkability of Hamilton’s downtown, combined with the focus on cleanliness and safety by the BIAs and police, are encouraging people to visit and stroll the streets.

Norton also says growing numbers of people living and working downtown will draw more businesses downtown. “The two feed off each other.”

“I think it’s all a positive sign that things are really turning around downtown,” said Susan Baithwaite, executive director of the International Village BIA.

“We’ve seen about 17 new businesses open and that’s a big number for us. We’re filling a number of vacancies that have been empty a long time.”

Baithwaite says she believes the core is on the edge of a “tipping point” in terms of momentum.

“There are so many different people involved in revitalizing the downtown that I think it can’t help, but keep happening.”

Unique new restaurants and shops and downtown events are bringing visitors, she said.

“I think the culture of small business is coming back. I feel the momentum. People are looking beyond big-box stores.”

Judi McIntyre said it wasn’t a difficult decision to locate her Parisian-flavoured boutique, Accoutrements, to King Street downtown.

“I like the hum of Hamilton,” said the Burlington resident, making her first foray into retailing.

“I love the big city vibe here in the International Village. It has a Toronto vibe. It’s a unique neighbourhood that you don’t get in Oakville or Burlington.”

The newcomers

Downtown Hamilton BIA

Downtown Bikehounds

MG International

Accessible Media Inc.

First Ontario Credit Union

Babylon Monetary Services

Goldmasters Cash for Gold

Gift & Glam Boutique

Southern Ontario College

Steel House Grill

The Bay Observer

Hamilton Colonoscopy Clinic

Smordin Law

Mike Keith Traffic Ticket Specialists

YMCA Immigrant Settlement Services

Nexus Staffing

Homegrown Café

Baltimore House

International Village BIA

Accoutrements

Barbarossa’s Cafe

Cho Sun OK Korean

Fringe Hair Studio

Angels and Demons

Soul Classics

Hamilton Clinic

Joy’s Karaoke

Mafu’s Kitchen

E-Zone Karaoke

KASA Sushi/BBQ Fish

Ziegler’s South Pacific

Mirage Night Club

Imperial Coin

Zoran Jewelers

Michui Restaurant

Monika’s Closet

I.M. Leathers

Dr Awesomesauce
Jan 29, 2012, 8:17 AM
Sushi and a colonoscopy...now that's a Friday night!

SteelTown
Jan 30, 2012, 12:57 AM
Looking over our next proposed budget and found an interesting thing...

Hamilton Downtown Grocery Stores Financial Incentive
$650,000

Looks like Hamilton is going to give an incentive for a grocery store in downtown Hamilton.

Others I noticed that sounds good:

Publicly Funded Educational Campuses in the Downtown
$430,000

Symbolic Gateway Features to Identify Areas of Downtown and the Waterfront
$200,000

Downtown Benches
$50,000

Gore Master Plan, Pilot Pedestrianization Initiative
$100,000

Hamilton Downtown Commercial Facade Property Improvement Grant Program
$400,000

The "Gore" Building Improvement Grant Program
$525,000

City to offer $650,000 grocery store prize

http://www.thespec.com/news/business/article/662622--city-to-offer-650-000-grocery-store-prize

This is one heck of a grocery store coupon.

The city has budgeted a one-time $650,000 prize to someone willing to bring a grocery store to Hamilton’s downtown.

The details of the incentive have yet to be approved by council but the plan by staff is to open a request for proposals in May, asking proponents to outline their proposed location, size of the store, the breadth of product offerings, price points and any related services offered such as dry cleaning.

Competing bids will be scored.

The grocery incentive is part of a package of three new incentives aimed at boosting the core which total $1.4 million over three years.

The lack of a grocery store in the core is a catch-22, says Glen Norton, the city’s manager of urban renewal.

“The grocery stores are saying there aren’t enough people living downtown to make the investment and the developers are saying people are complaining because there’s no grocery store downtown. So it’s a matter of who’s going to go first. We’re trying to break that logjam and get someone to take that risk.”

He added that land prices downtown are more expensive than elsewhere in the city and that the grant can help bridge that gap and make a grocery store a viable venture. He’s not aware of another municipality offering such an incentive.

The grant will be open to any individual or company, whether that’s a large grocery chain, an independent entrepreneur or existing vendors at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market.

Norton says the idea is not to create competition for the farmers’ market but to provide a venue for daily access to fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, a variety of dry goods and household essentials such as toilet paper and pet food.

Norton says The Spectator’s Code Red series, which analyzed health and poverty data, pointed to the importance of ready access to affordable, fresh food. “Otherwise, people have no choice but to make bad choices which are both more expensive and unhealthy.”

The second new incentive program is a $50,000 matching grant for any property facing Gore Park making improvements that will mean better use of the building. That could be used for fixing store fronts, installing elevators or patching up a leaking roof to make upper floors inhabitable, for instance.

“Gore Park strikes a real chord with people,” said Norton. “They won’t feel the downtown is revitalized until Gore is. This goes right at that.”

An interesting element of the grant is that the city will pay up to 75 per cent of the cost to remove a large sign and replace it with something “smaller and architecturally respectful,” Norton said.

Many of the signs on buildings facing Gore Park do not conform to current sign bylaws but have been grandfathered. “We want the façade show through on these buildings. I don’t like the carnival atmosphere in our downtown,” Norton said.

A third new incentive offers a grant of up to $10,000 to property owners improving facades in the city’s community improvement project area (roughly Victoria to Queen, Hunter to the CN tracks, James Street and the newly added King and Main from Wentworth to the 403). Work can include new windows, repointed brick, signs, awnings, stucco or anything else that improves a property’s street appearance.

There is $400,000 allocated in the city’s 2012 capital budget for the program.

drpgq
Feb 1, 2012, 7:48 PM
Anyone know when the house behind the Chateau Royale (end of Hughson, near the bus station) got torn down? I was walking by today and it's gone.

matt602
Feb 1, 2012, 8:28 PM
I read of a demolition permit through Matt Jelly on facebook about a week ago. No plans for the site as usual and no reason to tear it down. Probably more parking for the mediocre condo building in front of it.

drpgq
Feb 1, 2012, 11:00 PM
I read of a demolition permit through Matt Jelly on facebook about a week ago. No plans for the site as usual and no reason to tear it down. Probably more parking for the mediocre condo building in front of it.

Thanks. Seemed like a nice house and one would figure it would be worth renting out over a few parking spots, but that's Hamilton for you. I was hoping maybe something was going up.

palace1
Feb 2, 2012, 2:06 AM
112 Hughson St S seems to have been the office of Frisina Homes (which is moving to the empty gas station site at Main & Queen).

Here is the permit info. from the city website:
11-122315-00 DP 112 HUGHSON ST S HAMILTON Non Residential Demolish Non
Residential 9,000.00 ZLK HOLDING LTD 43 ELMHURST DR HAMILTON ON L8T
1C5

The taxes for 2010 when the house was still standing were $16063.42.

The propery is 155 x 66 feet so they could park maybe 30 cars.
Any idea what the zoning requirements are (if any) to open a legal parking lot?

flar
Feb 2, 2012, 2:38 AM
That was a quality house. Houses like that cost about $700,000 in Ottawa. Too bad.

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k28/segaert/new%20hammer/00018.jpg

Duckyboy
Feb 2, 2012, 6:34 PM
112 Hughson St S seems to have been the office of Frisina Homes (which is moving to the empty gas station site at Main & Queen).

Here is the permit info. from the city website:
11-122315-00 DP 112 HUGHSON ST S HAMILTON Non Residential Demolish Non
Residential 9,000.00 ZLK HOLDING LTD 43 ELMHURST DR HAMILTON ON L8T
1C5

The taxes for 2010 when the house was still standing were $16063.42.

The propery is 155 x 66 feet so they could park maybe 30 cars.
Any idea what the zoning requirements are (if any) to open a legal parking lot?

$16,063.42?!?!?! Holy crap; that is insane!

oldcoote
Feb 2, 2012, 7:00 PM
$16,063.42?!?!?! Holy crap; that is insane!

agreed. even for a commercial rate, it's horrible.

durandy
Feb 2, 2012, 7:08 PM
I'm pretty sure the zoning requirements are: that it can't happen. No more surface parking lots.

112 Hughson St S seems to have been the office of Frisina Homes (which is moving to the empty gas station site at Main & Queen).

Here is the permit info. from the city website:
11-122315-00 DP 112 HUGHSON ST S HAMILTON Non Residential Demolish Non
Residential 9,000.00 ZLK HOLDING LTD 43 ELMHURST DR HAMILTON ON L8T
1C5

The taxes for 2010 when the house was still standing were $16063.42.

The propery is 155 x 66 feet so they could park maybe 30 cars.
Any idea what the zoning requirements are (if any) to open a legal parking lot?

SteelTown
Feb 9, 2012, 1:39 AM
http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/19BF4613-CC76-491C-9B6C-E2393504B378/0/Jan25Item85.pdf

Jason Farr's motion "That staff be requested to provide Council with an update on the status of the Community Correction Centre located at 94 York Blvd., Ward 2."

Motion has been approved.

Pearlstreet
Feb 9, 2012, 5:49 AM
I think an ideal spot for that would be on the ground floor of the western building of the Royal Connuaght on the corner of King and John. Could be a catalyst for some vibrant pedestrian activity along the Gore Park area and a catlayst for any condo/hotel project involving the Royal Connaught itself.

That would be wonderful and full of charm. I had thought of one replacing the dead center of town, flea bitten bingo hall. Even closing it would look better, but I would expect the city makes something off of them or through taxes at least.

CaptainKirk
Feb 9, 2012, 7:01 AM
That would be wonderful and full of charm. I had thought of one replacing the dead center of town, flea bitten bingo hall. Even closing it would look better, but I would expect the city makes something off of them or through taxes at least.

Perhaps the city should just relocate the bingo hall to somewhere more appropriate like the old Crestwood school by Lime Ridge mall.

LikeHamilton
Feb 9, 2012, 6:22 PM
Redeemer looks downtown

thespec.com Teri Pecoskie February 9, 2012

Redeemer University College has its sights set on downtown.

The institution has undertaken a feasibility study to investigate establishing a physical presence in the core. The study, which is expected to wrap up this spring, has allowed the university to scout potential program space and look into possible collaborations with downtown services and organizations.

While there is no concrete timeline for downtown expansion, university staff say having a greater presence in the core would benefit both students and the community.

Although Redeemer’s campus lies in Ancaster, the university is already having an impact on Hamilton’s downtown in the context of a partnership with the Jobs Prosperity Collaborative.

That initiative, which started last September, is improving volunteer opportunities for Redeemer students and allowing the school to explore new service learning opportunities, including internships and co-op placements.

Bill van Staalduinen – vice president of advancement

City officials have approached the university about the possibility of renting or taking space somewhere in the downtown area.

“We know that our students are doing stuff down there already, we have some sort of academic activity going on. We’d like to do more, our students would like to do more. How are we going to go about doing this?”

The opportunity came up last year through a grant.

“It worked out to be a very positive partnership and it’s given us this opportunity now to really study what we’re doing to figure out where we should be going and to develop some plans and strategies for the future.”

Hired a staff member to do an inventory of what the school already does downtown, talk with officials, talk with agencies, look at facilities – “and try to figure out an approach for us.”

“He’s going to be making a series of recommendations to us.” This spring.

tpecoskie@thespec.com

http://www.thespec.com/print/article/668462

CaptainKirk
Feb 9, 2012, 6:38 PM
Maybe Redeemer could buy and occupy the HWDSB building at 100 Main St. W., and Mac could build on the King and Bay parking lot.