Category Archives: Development

Converted: New Student Residences on Main St W

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One of Joseph B. Singer’s lesser-known buildings is being converted into student apartments.

The modern office building located at 1100 Main Street West, completed in 1965, is getting a new lease on life. After years of businesses coming and going, the three-storey office building will be repurposed to accommodate residential space for students of McMaster University.

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Following a record of site condition, Webb Planning Consultants had applied for and received a Zoning By-law Amendment for residential use as of December 2014. The once commercial building will be converted into a 41-unit multiple student residence (including a residential property next door) by Collaborative Structures Limited.

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The building is composed of a steel and concrete frame structure, with a white and black brick façade, steel mullions, and a piano key-like cornice.

Joseph B. Singer’s most notable building in Hamilton was the recently demolished Board Of Education Building (built in 1966). Other notable buildings include Adas Israel Synagogue, Shalom Village Nursing Home, and many schools throughout Hamilton, including Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School.

The new student residence is called MainMac Residence and units are already available for rent. The property is owned by Collingwood Cambridge Holdings.

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In Defense of Tivoli Condos

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Last week Diamante Investments and MSA architects released their recent renderings of Tivoli Condos, a 22-storey, 106 unit, mix-use condo situated on James Street North.

In many ways, the proposed condo is a daring design for the city. The building is a bold, new, and contemporary style of condominiums.

However, the real daring in its design is its height. Like much of James Street North, the property is only zoned for three to six stories, meaning this development will require amended bylaws.

More about the bylaws here: What the 22-storey Tivoli Proposal Means for James Street and Downtown

The proposed amendments to change zoning requirements for its height, setback, and parking have sparked controversy. The arguments against the proposed changes are that the building will be out of context with the neighbourhood and could harm the downtown’s future development.

James Street North is in the midst of a revolution. A street of predominately three to four storey buildings, coffee shops, thrift stores, restaurants and many other small businesses have made this old cultural hub vibrant and popular again. It is unsurprising for the neighbourhood to be cautious of any development that might deadlock its progress.

However, as this city gains momentum through potential investments like this development, changes are inevitable.

As design evolves and infill is required to create density, regulations will need to change to accommodate the growth of a city. Heritage plays an integral role in the cities future, but it also shouldn’t be what slows it down. For years this city has seen an unchecked growth in sprawl, straining the core and hindering its economy. Now, as the urban pattern shifts, the city needs to think big. In order to intensify the core, the only way to build is up.

The Tivoli Theatre proposal is far from out of context. A three storey commercial podium at street level, as well as the renovation of the old Tivoli Theatre, will not only connect the building with its immediate streetscape, but also add to James North’s walkability and commercial viability.

The remaining 19 storeys of residential space are an appealing prospect. With the James Street North GO expansion, SoBi Hamilton Bikeshare, proximity to the Bayfront and its location on one of the hottest streets in the city, this development will have no issues finding buyers.

As we build higher, we will see more people in the core, more business, more investment, and what’s most important to the city, more tax revenue.

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Architectural Spotlight: The New Royal Connaught Lobby

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With a mixture of both neo-classical and contemporary design, the double-height lobby at The Royal Connaught has been brought back to its former glory and then some.Image
Surrounded by six, two-storey corinthian columns, the sheer size and pure white paint not only makes the columns pop, but also help define the space of the lobby. ImageImage
The ceiling is coffered with an intricate crown molding and three elegant glass raindrop chandeliers, while the floor features a combination of restored original marble and terrazzo tiles.Image ImageImage
A grand staircase leads up to an impressive mezzanine, where the details in the foliage of the column’s capitals, and the lobby’s frieze design can be examined up close. The mezzanine also offers a great view of the space and the four large arched windows that look out onto King Street.Image
The restored lobby will undoubtedly be great to not only host events, but also greet residents and visitors alike into Hamilton’s illustrious past and it’s ambitious future.

For more on the Royal Connaught: https://rebuildhamilton.com/2013/04/02/the-royal-connaught-is-getting-a-second-life/

 

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The Brant Street Pier finally opens

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After a long wait, The Brant Street Pier finally opened in June during this year’s Sound of Music Festival on Fathers Day Weekend.

The Pier is the final phase of the Waterfront at Downtown Burlington project. Other phases of the project include the parking garage at 414 Locust Street, Discovery Landing, the Rotary Centennial Pond, and The Dofasco Waterjet Plaza.

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Located at the Eastern End of Spencer Smith Park, the Brant Street Pier extends 137 metres over Lake Ontario. The S-shaped pier is connected to the park’s existing promenade by a coloured concrete walkway.

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Five metres above the water, the pier’s platform is built on 14 caissons drilled into a bedrock foundation.

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Located along the sides of the deck are LED lamps extending over the walkway and benches without backs, offering different views of the lake.

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Further out (85 meters), the deck widens for a circular node. In the centre of the node is a raised platform that is nine metres in diameter and can be accessed via circular staircase.

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Atop the platform is a 12-metre beacon with an oblong nautical-style structure complemented by rings clad with a perforated metal sheet.

The beacon is made of a tubular structural steel framing. The stiffness of structural steel framing will ensure the structure can withstand the high winds of Lake Ontario.

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The platform not only supports the beacon, but also offers a different vantage point from the pier.

According to the City of Burlington, the construction of the pier was also attentive to the environment. The height of the pier allows the free flow of the water under the platform. Along the eastern edge of the promenade, the beach has been preserved and the project includes providing fish habitat compensation and enhancements for Sheldon Creek.

The total cost of the pier construction is an estimated $14.4 million.

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An alternative design and development plan for Gore Park buildings

Local developer and designer Mahesh Butani has prepared a compromise development proposal for the Blanchard Block at Gore Park that would not only save the historic Gore Park buildings, but also integrate new development.

Butani has expressed fear that tearing down the historic Gore Park buildings would be damaging to the city’s core. Although there is a possibility the Gore Park streetwall will be designated as heritage buildings, this new plan would achieve the integration of the existing buildings in a sensitive manner with large-scale development.

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The proposal suggests a phased plan with three stages. The first stage is to develop an 80-room boutique hotel superimposed on top of the Gore Park row of heritage buildings in a receding form. The receding levels open up the sightline for 50% of the units in phases two and three, while also providing Gore Park with low shadow cover from the buildings.

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The hotel would include a terrace restaurant, café and bar overlooking the park. There will be over 40 “Bed and Breakfast” rooms inside the pre-existing buildings and six retail storefronts.

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Stage two incorporates an 18-floor mixed-use condominium with 108 units on the adjacent lot facing James Street South, which is currently vacant.

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The final stage would be a 40-floor high-rise condominium with more than 400 units. The condo would be situated on another vacant lot facing Main Street. All three phases would be integrated with the boutique hotel and terrace café overlooking Gore Park.

According to Butani, building the development in phases would give a realistic flow to the financing and asset collateralization, giving lenders a greater assurance against the risk of default. It would also help control supply and demand, ensuring that more sales go to actual users, adding density to the core.

The total development value of this proposal totals 150-million dollars.

Note: these renderings are not finished. They will be released in a few weeks with materials, textures etc. However, due to the immediate possibility of demolition, Butani decided to release various views of the unfinished rendering.

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Architectural Spotlight: Salvation Army – Lawson Ministries Autism Centre

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Salvation Army –  Lawson Ministries Autism Centre
533 Main St East
Trevor Garwood-Jones & Hanam Architects
Built: 2010

Built in 2010, the Salvation Army –  Lawson Ministries Autism Centre was the last building designed by the late architect Trevor Garwood-Jones.

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The centre’s distinctive architecture manages to fit seamlessly within the streetscape. It achieves this through its compatible scale with a high-peaked roof, punched windows, and house-like feel.

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The exterior of the building consists of a yellow compressed concrete cladding, as well as a subtle black cladding along the bottom and sides of the building. The bold yellow cladding creates a uniqueness that separates the centre from its neighbours.

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A rooftop patio provides outdoor space to the small infill lot. The frameless glass panels provide an enclosure that more defines the surrounding space.

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The entrance of the building has a suspended canopy with an accented wood underside. The porch-like entrance signifies the transition between public and private space.

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Inside the building, many of the outer walls consist of a glass block paneling, allowing natural light while maintaining privacy.

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The reception space has some notable features such as an elevator (the building is completely accessible), wood accenting, and a bright orange wall that adds visual weight to the hallway.

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The peaked ceiling is highlighted with timber bolted trusses, providing the reception space with a rustic feel.

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A feature room of the centre is the Snoezlen Room. This room offers therapeutic multisensory stimulation through the use of lighting, sounds, colors, scents, and other senses.

Other rooms in the centre include multi-purpose rooms, a literacy room, café, meeting room, offices, and a mini gym.

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The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s Veldhuis Project is moving forward

In partnership with the City of Hamilton, The Hamilton Conservation Authority is redeveloping a brownfield site along the Desjardins Canal into public green space.

The site is located at the old Veldhuis Greenhouse property that runs along the Desjardins Canal on King Street East in Dundas, just north of Cootes Drive. The area was once home to a greenhouse made famous for it’s variety and quantity of cacti.

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The Veldhuis Project will cost an estimated $3 million, with the funds going towards the redevelopment of the one-hectare property, as well as remediation of the canal.

The project is part of the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s plan to create the Dundas Eco-park, which will be a part of the Cootes to Escarpment Park System. The 1300-hectare urban park will provide the only continuous habitat connection from Lake Ontario to the Escarpment.

Designed by landscape architects G. O’Connor Consultants, the redeveloped brownfield site will consist of a meadow, both an asphalt and limestone pathway, boardwalk lookouts, a pavilion, restored woodlands, and public art.

The only remaining piece of the old greenhouse still intact is the two-storey red brick chimney.

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Due to Chimney Swifts, a protected at-risk species actively nesting in the chimney, it has been resolved that the chimney will remain as a site element. An eight-by-eight meter shaded structure that will resemble a greenhouse – a tribute to Veldhuis – will be situated along the asphalt walkway and within view of the chimney.

Development concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

Concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

The green space will also feature a pedestrian boardwalk against the edge of the canal, complete with a fabric sail-style shade structure, interpretive signage, and ‘industrial’ bench seating. The boardwalk’s design is an attempt to bring the canal’s rich history back to the site for those who walk the pathways and canoe the canal.

Concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

Concept courtesy of The Hamilton Conservation Authority

Along with the remediation of the Desjardins Canal, floating islands for nesting waterfowl will be implemented, as well as restored riparian edges and an enhanced riparian outlet.

On King Street, the two-meter wide municipal sidewalk will be extended and a new crosswalk with painted markings will be added to connect the Veldhuis green space with Martino Park to the north.

One of the remaining challenges facing this redevelopment is the proposal to close King Street at Olympic Drive. The plan is to remove the existing road to create a turtle nesting area, extend the pathway, and add an additional boardwalk.

Work on the Veldhuis Project is set to begin later this summer.

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