Monday, December 24, 2012

Bill Kelly on Blanchard's Downtown Proposal

I saw a tweet from @RyanMcGreel about a post from CHML's Bill Kelly on the Blanchard proposal for the heritage properties fronting Gore Park between Hughson and James. Wow. Here's a few quotes.

"Well, same goes for the Wilson Blanchard plan to bring down a few tired, old buildings and build a much needed complex that would include a grocery store, office space and residential."

"This Gore Project is a continuation of their investment in Hamilton’s downtown.
Demolishing  run down, non functioning buildings to be replaced with an attractive commercial/ residential property is not destroying our heritage, it’s building our future."

Really how dysfunctional are these buildings? The ground level floors have tenants including the Steel House Grill which was recently opened. Architect David Premi has offices upstairs in one of the buildings (28 King Street East). There's nothing stopping Blanchard from doing some renovating of the upper floors of the buildings and converting them to residential, where there's always demand downtown.

These buildings, some of which predate Confederation, can't be replaced if torn down. The area behind them is big enough to do a large project as the footprint of the buildings themselves is small.

Why has the city bothered with the pedestrianized area in front of the buildings if they are just going to be torn down in the end anyways? If they are gone, the Gore is that little bit less special and a lot less historical. Blanchard should just sell these buildings if he can't make them work as is.

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