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City to spend $80 Million on Developing Hamilton’s Waterfront

City to spend $80 Million on Developing Hamilton’s Waterfront

City to spend $80 Million on Developing Hamilton’s Waterfront
May 25
18:33 2018

The City of Hamilton is on the cusp of realizing a decades-long vision to transform the Piers 5 to 8 shoreline in Hamilton’s West Harbour into a mixed-use community.

The 30-acre former shipping pier is already home to an outdoor skating rink, amphitheatre, a café and restaurant. As the last stretch of urban waterfront property from Oshawa to the Niagara Region that is undeveloped, Hamilton has an unrivaled opportunity to draw private investment.

The City’s vision for Pier 8 is for up to 1,500 residential units in mid-rise buildings of three to eight storeys with ground-floor retail, commercial, and institutional uses.

Hamilton’s waterfront is an important part of the city’s history and a critical piece of its future. While the east side of the harbour is a bustling economic powerhouse, the West Harbour has become a destination for recreation and economic development and a place for people to connect with the beauty of Hamilton Harbour, thanks to decades of planning and strategic decision-making.

“From our roots in industrial waterfront activity to present day, the waterfront has played a significant role in shaping our city,” said Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

“Over the course of the next several years we will see hundreds of millions of dollars in new residential, commercial and recreational investments aimed at strengthening the waterfront experience for our community and visitors alike.”

Four development teams have answered a request for proposals for the Pier 8 project and city staff expect to announce its choice in June.

“This process has been carefully designed to balance visionary aspirations with financial benefits for Hamilton taxpayers. We’re eagerly anticipating a range of unique and creative city-building interpretations for Hamilton’s waterfront from this group of experienced development teams,” said Chris Phillips, senior advisor for the West Harbour project.

He said each of the teams has a proven track record in executing major urban revitalization projects.

“We look forward to seeing their interpretations of the City’s vision to transform Pier 8 into a 21st-century model of excellence in city-building.”

The proponents must provide detailed development concept and implementation plans that display urban innovation, while also making financial bids for the purchase of the lands.

Hamilton’s West Harbour rests on the James Street North corridor, in the midst of a beautiful historic neighbourhood. It is only a few blocks from downtown and the West Harbour GO station.

The City owns more than 100 acres of land from Bayfront Park, a vibrant urban park opened in 1993, to Pier 8. More than 80 per cent will remain publicly owned.

The City has committed more than $80 million for waterfront infrastructure, including boardwalks, trails, park space, break walls, marinas, sewer and water pipes, roads and bike paths. Plans for Pier 8 include a 30-metrewide promenade that will be developed, programmed and owned by the City. It will connect with a continuous waterfront trail that connects with Princess Point and Cootes Paradise.

The promenade, being designed by Forrec Ltd., will pay homage to Hamilton’s industrial and waterfront heritage and feature a stage, beach, playground, games room and ball court, shaded seating, terraced decks, and public art.

Construction is expected to begin this spring.

“Hamilton has fabulous waterfront potential,” said Hamilton realtor Judy Marsales. “The plan calls for residential and business components but also the opportunity to engage with the natural setting we’ve been blessed with.”

Hamiltonians have rediscovered the beauty of the waterfront after decades of industrial use that made it unappealing and inaccessible. Real estate values have soared in the neighbourhood, she said.

“I know someone who bought a property on Bay Street North in the 1970s and people wondered what was wrong with him. Now he looks like a genius.”

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Lloyd Stevens has been writing Canadian business news for over 20 years with articles appearing in Perspective which appears in The Globe & Mail and contributing to and

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