The Hamilton Grand will be built at the southeast corner of John and Main, the site of a former Shell station, with slightly larger floor plates.
By Trey Shaughnessy
Published April 12, 2009
The Hamilton Grand surprise was revealed on Saturday at a lunch reception at the AGH. Two weeks ago Stinson hinted that there was going to be a change to the current proposed building.
The reception was full to capacity with standing room only. From a show of hands, half the attendees were from Toronto with a few from Montreal. The majority were members of a Toronto based real estate investment group called Private Investment Club.
The investment group has bought 100 of the 176 suites. The benefits of the massive purchase will push the Hamilton Grand to be constructed starting this summer.
Problem: The current building lacked the grand presence that Stinson prefers in his buildings.
Solution: Move the building.
The Hamilton Grand will be built at the southeast corner of John and Main, the site of a former Shell station. The design is similar, except with slightly larger floor plates. The floor plans now have 22 units versus the previous 20.
New location of the Hamilton Grand. Southeast corner of John and Main Streets.
The building will now directly greet visitors to Hamilton when they enter the downtown from the 403 and Main Street. The new building will have a much bigger presence compared to 27 John Street (almost directly across the street), because it won't be concealed behind the John Sopinka Courthouse.
The new lot is 40 percent larger and one third cheaper. Another bonus, aside from the obvious added exposure, is that the former owners will have to dig and remove the contaminated soil and under ground storage tanks, leaving the hole already dug for two and maybe three underground parking levels.
Several speakers promoted Hamilton as a great investment. Larry Di Ianni, former Hamilton Mayor and Stinson's business partner, spoke about Hamilton's renaissance. David Adames spoke about how the Art Gallery of Hamilton renovation was the catalyst that had started a renewed interest in downtown. Councilor Bob Bratina also showed his enthusiasm in a speech about Hamilton's great history and location.
Stinson has been hot on Hamilton since moving here and commented about the unrealized value of the downtown.
One peculiar moment was when former Mayor Jack MacDonald entered the room at the time of everyone saying great things about Hamilton. Stinson introduced MacDonald to the attendees. Stinson asked MacDonald, "when were you mayor?", to which MacDonald responded, "When Hamilton was ambitious".
There was an awkward brief silence after the strange remark. I could sense that people were thinking, what did he mean? Did he just say Hamilton is no longer ambitious, and Hamilton lost its ambition in 1980 when MacDonald's one term ended?
Stinson quickly ended the silence by tactfully getting back to the theme of the event: how Hamilton has great potential. He said, "Hamilton could be the most interesting city in Canada."
The afternoon was full of enthusiastic and confident investors. The new location fills an empty prime visible lot with a wonderful new addition to Hamilton. Let the renaissance continue.
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