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West Harbour Waterfront is one of Hamilton’s Strategic Priorities

West Harbour Waterfront is one of Hamilton’s Strategic Priorities

West Harbour Waterfront is one of Hamilton’s Strategic Priorities
July 31
16:32 2015

The revitalization of Hamilton’s waterfront has been envisioned for well over two decades, but now that development is upon us, it will transform Hamilton’s image by creating a world-class urban waterfront neighborhood.

Located in the City’s western waterfront and steps from the downtown core, the “West Harbour” area is seen as one of Hamilton’s strategic priorities. Years of public investments to enhance the waterfront have led to a clean and sustainable harbour, large-scale community parks, a recreational trail network, and other amenities for residents and visitors. These investments are supported by unique neighbourhood planning principles, which will put people and quality of life at the centre of the development process, ensuring that the proposed private-sector investments will be done in a manner that reflects a commitment to quality of design and quality of space.

“It’s just such a game-changer,” explains Councillor Chad Collins. “We’ve been seeing incremental changes on the waterfront for a decade – but once the City partners with the private sector, the changes you’ll see will be dramatic. Really, what we’re doing is planning for thousands of new residents that will make up an entirely new neighbourhood.”

The first critical steps in the renewal of Hamilton’s waterfront came in the early 1980s, with a major push to regenerate the waters of the Hamilton Harbour by transforming them into a people and family friendly place. Since then, huge strides have been made in terms of the ecology of the waterfront. Combined with the investments in public-spaces, this area has truly become a destination.

With this solid foundation in place, the time is finally right for the City to realize the areas full potential. With an adequate amount of developable land assembled and planning rules set, the time is right to leverage tangible private-sector investment.

Two distinct waterfront land parcels are on the verge of becoming development-ready, and the City is priming itself for a flurry of interest from the development industry. The City owns over 25 acres of developable land directly on the water’s edge on “Piers 7-8,” and just under 20 acres within the adjacent “Barton-Tiffany” neighbourhood. Both areas are slated for medium density mixeduse residential and commercial developments, allowing for a wide-array of uses that will become a catalyst for Hamilton’s further transformation.

Understanding the complexity and associated risks involved in a development of this scale, the City is ensuring the development potential of the lands by creating legislative certainty and providing for key infrastructure investments to be made in advance. This will then clear the way for a formal Expression-of-Interest process where the City will seek out private-sector partners to assist in this unique high-profile development. The City foresees this process to hit full stride in 2015 and 2016, with shovels in the ground by 2017.

“By committing to fund key infrastructure investments up front, City Council has made a tremendous statement to the private-sector that we are open for business,” says Chris Phillips, the head of the City’s Waterfront Re-Development plans. “Having completed a detailed business-case on the lands, we realistically expect a final development worth well over $750 million, that will be able to drive at least $10 million in new tax revenue per year.”

These lands are also situated adjacent to a new GO train station, only blocks from a revitalizing downtown. It’s easy to see why Hamilton has been identified as Ontario’s fastest growing economy and most diversified economy in Canada by the Conference Board of Canada. It all means a great opportunity for those business professionals looking to invest in this city on the move.

For more information on Hamilton’s waterfront developments, to watch videos and to review investment or development opportunities, visit

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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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