Liuna’s Two 30-Storey Tower Project to Accelerate the Transformation of Downtown

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A new project by the Labourers’ International union of North America (LiuNA) will accelerate an ongoing transformation of Hamilton’s downtown core, including its beacon, the Gore Park district.

The newly announced project proposes two 30-storey towers on the site of a now-demolished bingo hall which takes up the east side of Hughson Street North, between King Street East and King William. The towers will sit on five-storey podiums that will blend with the existing street walls and bring about 20,000 square feet of retail space to the streets.

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Plans call for one tower to offer condo units, with the other offering rentals. One tower will front King Street and the other will open on to King William, both critical corridors in Hamilton’s core.

Combined, they will comprise 529 units.

“There is great demand on the residential side because people are discovering what many of us already know: Hamilton is a great city to live in and a wonderful place to raise your family,” said Joseph Mancinelli, LiUNA International vice-president and the regional manager for Central and Eastern Canada.

The site is a special one, he says. It was home to the Kresge five and dime store from 1930 to 1994 and overlooks Gore Park, Hamilton’s downtown civic square.

The park – which features a Victorian fountain, cenotaph and statues of Sir John A. MacDonald and Queen Victoria – is in the midst of a multiyear redevelopment to make it more pedestrian oriented.

“I can just picture what 10 years down the road will bring to that part of the
city. It will have a vibrancy it hasn’t had in many decades,” Mancinelli said.

“Between now and 2025, the city is going to explode.”

The $300-million project is the latest venture by the Labourers’ Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada and project managers the Hi-Rise Group and consultants UrbanSolutions.

The project is steps away from the restoration of the former Royal Connaught hotel into a three-phase condo development and a number of adaptive reuse projects by Core Urban Inc.

It’s also just blocks away from LiUNA’s 21-storey William Thomas Residence, a student housing tower on James Street North.

LiUNA removed and stored its historic stone façade prior to demolition of the building. The stone will be carefully reassembled on the new building.

Challenging historic projects are nothing new for LiUNA. It restored what was once a long-abandoned train station and turned it into a thriving events centre at Liuna Station and then took the decaying Lister building – Canada’s oldest indoor mall – and filled it with office and retail uses.

“We want to maintain the nostalgia,” said Mancinelli, who grew up in Hamilton. “We have attached our brand to nostalgia and that is worth a lot. These are legacies that will last generations.”

LiUNA’s real estate portfolio in Hamilton also includes a Stoney Creek banquet centre LiUNA Gardens, affordable housing complexes, two seniors buildings and its office in a Hughson Street South building, constructed in the 1860s as one of Canada’s first telephone exchanges.

The symbols and results of its progress are accruing in Hamilton and LiUNA is proud to be involved in a number of them, says Mancinelli. “Success is contagious. The domino effect is now moving rapidly.”

Read the full Perspective Hamilton 2017 feature here.