A number of key transformational projects are underway in Hamilton. They include a light-rail transit corridor, a new film district, large-scale downtown residential projects, and the buildout of McMaster Innovation Park.
Here, we profile the redevelopment at the waterfront and the Downtown Entertainment Precinct.
The $140-million transformation of Hamilton’s West Harbour is a game-changer for the city thanks to significant investment in new parks and public spaces and private-sector development.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to realize the full potential of our beautiful West Harbour waterfront as a multi-use community that will be open for all Hamiltonians to enjoy,” says Chris Phillips, manager of the City’s Municipal Land Development Office.
“Where once these lands were closed off to the public and used only for industrial commerce, the new West Harbour will be where everyone will want to live, work, play or visit.”
The focal point of the public realm, the recently opened $6.5-million Copps Pier at Pier 8, and a kilometre long waterside boardwalk opening soon.
The next phase is investment in restaurants, retail and commercial spaces and more than 1,600 residential units on Pier 8. That includes a proposal for a 45-storey signature residential tower.
Waterfront Shores, a consortium of developers, architects and designers, was awarded the right to develop the project after an extensive competitive bid process.
The redevelopment of the West Harbour, including new public amenities and developments on piers 6 and 7, will integrate into its historic North End neighbourhood, tie into the revitalization of James Street North, and connect to the city’s downtown, says Phillips. And it is well-served by the nearby West Harbour GO station.
“Whether you want to live there or invest, the connectivity of this site is unparalleled. The waterfront will truly be the front porch of the city of Hamilton.”
Downtown Entertainment Precinct
A historic private-sector investment in Hamilton’s downtown entertainment venues and a surrounding district will set the stage for the attraction of world-class events and a vibrant core.
The Downtown Entertainment Precinct master agreement is a 49-year deal between the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group (HUPEG), a consortium of regional stakeholders. HUPEG will take responsibility for the operations and maintenance of FirstOntario Centre, FirstOntario Concert Hall and Hamilton Convention Centre. The City will retain ownership of the lands and facilities.
HUPEG is vowing to invest upwards of $100 million into an extensive renovation of the FirstOntario Centre that will transform it into a premium sports and entertainment venue.
HUPEG’s plan also includes more than $12.5 million in upgrades to the Convention Centre and FirstOntario Concert Hall, and a $2 million contribution to the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
The precinct will also include $500 million worth of investment in residential towers and retail, hospitality and commercial developments.
The city is already attracting large, high-profile sporting, music and cultural events, as well as major conferences and conventions and this success builds on itself.
“The momentum is definitely with us and investment in our downtown venues is a critical step forward,” says Ryan McHugh, manager of tourism and events.
“Many people want to live in, or visit, a vibrant city, where there are many entertainment options to choose from. Hamilton is becoming that place.”
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