CREblurb | Commercial Real-Estate in Ontario



July 01
15:19 2022

Hamilton property management firm Effort Trust is making a bold move into a new five storey headquarters in the heart of the city.

The sleek modern glass structure sits alongside heritage buildings overlooking Gore Park and represents one of the very first new-build office developments in the downtown in 30 years.

“This is our commitment to Hamilton and its continued renewal,” says Effort Trust president and CEO Tom Weisz. He’s the son of late company founder Arthur Weisz, who launched Effort Trust in 1953. It is now among the largest property management companies in Ontario.

“We ran out of room and this was the time to move right to the heart of the city. Gore Park is one of the most important locations in Hamilton.”

The new building will offer space to grow, proximity to professional services firms and high visibility. It is among a number of office developments underway in the city, including the complete restoration of other historic buildings facing Gore Park into modern office space.

Real estate brokerage Blair Blanchard Stapleton closed on a major land assembly transaction in the downtown core late last year. Totaling 3.6 acres, the deal includes Philpott Memorial Church and its neighbouring lot at 58 York Blvd, along with three properties on King Street East. The transaction fetched an average of over $11 million per acre.

The York Boulevard property is slated for a mixed use development.

The sale was the largest land deal in downtown Hamilton for 2021, according to Real Track.

“I truly believe the end result is a great step in the right direction for the continued development of the built environment of Hamilton as well as contributing to the growth and diversification of the downtown Hamilton community as a whole,” said broker Evan Apostol.

Major transit investments in two-way allday GO service to Toronto and in a light-rail train in a dedicated right-of-way through the heart of the city, along with Hamilton’s growing population are driving growing interest in office space, says Judy Lam, manager, commercial districts and small business.

“Hamilton’s quality of life and diverse housing market are bringing talent to the city. Companies want to locate where their employees already are because talent wants to work and live in the same neighbourhood.”

What is exciting about Hamilton, says Lam, is that office space can be found in vibrant downtown settings, in business and industrial parks, in traditional office towers and in interesting adaptive reuse settings, such as a Core Urban conversion of a brick-and-beam building at 59 King St. E. that has attracted digital companies.

“That brick and beam, open-concept, natural light space that is so in demand is readily available in Hamilton. That’s attractive to technology companies and to those setting up satellite offices.”

The City offers a range of development incentives, including the Start-up and Office Tenant Attraction (SOTA) program. It provides interest-free loans to facilitate eligible leasehold improvements to office space by property owners or authorized tenants.

One goal is to attract start-ups emerging from regional, national and international business incubators seeking to establish their first permanent office location. As an extra incentive, a portion of the SOTA loan for these start-up businesses could be forgiven.

The Coppley Building

Another exciting project underway is a partnership between Toronto based impact focused developer TAS, lead financier Vancity Community Investment Bank and the Hamilton Community Foundation (HCF) to restore and repurpose the historic Coppley building on York Boulevard.

Built in 1856, it housed Coppley Apparel, a high-end suit and jacket production company, for nearly 140 years and played a key role in Hamilton’s textile trade. Coppley has moved into a new purpose-built building around the corner.

Its former home is a vast, 80,000-squarefoot stone structure with open floorplans, high ceilings and plenty of light. It will become home to a mix of commercial, office and non-profit tenants, including the HCF as an anchor tenant, as well as cafes and community spaces.

“At TAS, we believe that real estate development is a tool that can be used to deliver both positive impact for communities and strong financial returns for investors,” said Mazyar Mortazavi, president and CEO of TAS. “This is our first project in Hamilton, and we’re excited to learn from and partner with local community members.”

A former Coppley factory building at Hughson and Cannon is also expected to see new life as office space.

Westinghouse HQ

The handsome brick structure in the Barton Village neighbourhood near Hamilton’s industrial area was built as one of the city’s first office towers for the first Canadian branch of Westinghouse. At its peak, the company employed 11,000 people in Hamilton.

Westinghouse built its five-storey office building across the street from its factory in 1917. Two more floors were added in 1928 for the booming electrical products company. The building’s structure combines a reinforced concrete and structural steel frame with an ornate and historically significant brick and cut-stone façade and more than 360 windows.

It was designed in a Classical Revival style by prominent local architects Prack & Perrine and received heritage status in 1988. But the elegant building sat empty for about 33 years before finding new life.

Hamilton architectural firm mcCallum Sather served as the lead architect, mechanical engineer and heritage consultant firm for the Westinghouse HQ restoration. It is also an anchor tenant, taking up the second floor, which features gigantic exposed steel trusses.

Westinghouse HQ offers vast, open concept Class A office space, soaring windows and plenty of nods to its 105-year history. The 10,000-square-foot seventh floor is available to a single tenant and offers spectacular views of the city in every direction. The sixth floor and fifth floor footprints can be broken into three units.

The ground floor includes gorgeous arched windows, original terrazzo floors, a full kitchen and stage and is available for corporate and community events. The plan is to eventually have a full-service café on site.

The third-floor Branch HQ features 16 modern and bright private offices in three sizes that are complemented by large common areas and plug-and-play meeting spaces.

“The furnishings and technology are all done at a high quality,” says Tyler Cowie, general manager of Branch HQ. “We are pleased with the response we’ve had here. Our tenants are very happy, so we are, too.”

Tenants include mortgage and finance firms, planners, designers and technology companies.

Jamie Harsevoort moved his healthtech venture studio Launchit Ventures into Westinghouse HQ, along with two related health technology companies, in February. It offers great value, a terrific management team, and room to grow, along with all the amenities he needs.

As a Hamilton native, Harsevoort says it’s meaningful to move to into a heritage building in a revitalizing part of the city that had been hard hit by manufacturing losses.

“Great jobs are coming back to this neighbourhood. This new life represents the future of Hamilton.”

Business Improvement Areas

New Properties

Hamilton is home to 13 business improvement areas in each area of the city.

“Our BIAs are crucial to the local economy and are great supports to small businesses by hosting events, programming and marketing,” says Judy Lam, Manager, Commercial Districts and Small Business.

They have been especially critical during the pandemic and in recovery, helping small businesses pivot, working with the City’s Digital Main Street program and collecting data about shoppers and shopping patterns.

In addition to a highly successful outdoor patio program that allows patio pop-up in curb lanes and alleys, the City is funding a summer concert series this year – Music Across the City – which will see one 90-minute concert in each BIA and in other commercial districts that apply.

As well, there will be upcoming announcements about two exciting activation and beautification projects in BIAs, says Lam.

About Author



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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