Beer Store Boutique Could Signal A Shift In Hamilton
[Kristy Hutter, OpenFile Hamilton, June 28, 2011]
“…residents of Toronto's densely populated urban areas will be shopping for brews in a new way. After two years of flirting with the idea, The Beer Store finally launched its new pilot project, The Beer Boutique, in Liberty Village, earlier this month….[Ted Moroz, President of The Beer Store] says the Liberty Village Beer Boutique, as well as another store opening in Toronto at some point this year, will serve as pilot projects. When it comes time to decide where new Beer Boutiques will open, Hamilton will not be overlooked. "We're not ruling anything out," says Moroz. "These are designed for densely populated areas with a lot of walkers and we know that Hamilton has areas like this."
That's the diplomatic thing to say. I’m in favour of superior beer selection and I’d love to see this happen downtown but aside from the requisite enthusiasm from Glen Norton, this article seems more than a little premature. Liberty Village has been exploding with new upscale condo development for years, and the Beer Store was still tentative about going forward with this pilot project. I doubt anyone can recall a time when downtown Hamilton had any significant residential development that didn’t involve a substantial buy-in from the public purse. The under-construction King West
condos alone amass 1,100 new upmarket condo units on a single city block – twice as much new residential development of all kinds that has taken place in all of downtown Hamilton since amalgamation, and about equal to the number of people of all income levels who've moved downtown since 2001. The 55-unit Acclamation Lofts announced two years ago has yet to break ground; ditto for the scaled-back, rental-only Hamilton Grand. If we're serious about attracting boutique retail operations, we need an exponentially higher density of resident disposable income than we now have.