By Jason Leach
Published April 05, 2009
Is this article really about Ottawa St or is it a promo for some of the Spec's advertisers?
Some of the boost in activity [on Ottawa Street] can be credited to the huge multimillion-dollar redevelopment of Centre Mall, which sits between Ottawa and Kenilworth streets abutting Barton Street on the north side.
Eventually, the former mall will be converted to a sprawling outdoor power centre with a Boston Pizza restaurant, a 105,000-square-foot new format Canadian Tire store, a Metro, Zellers and many others.
Either way, I can tell you one thing, having been in Portland and Seattle recently: nowhere near the urban areas of those cities could big boxes be found.
Instead, it was filled with lots of street trees, parking, transit, flower pots and wonderful landscaping, along with business district after business district. I'm not sure that I saw a single empty storefront anywhere I went.
And of course the sidewalks are all pedestrian-friendly (only in Hamilton can we take a sidewalk and make it unfriendly to the very people who use it).
The one guy in this article talking about more flowers on Kenilworth is bang on. They need trees every 20 feet to create a nice urban canopy as well.
Ottawa Street has been humming back to life for many years now. Sure, a couple stores came from Centre Mall, and yes, the Farmers Market is the biggest fish they've landed from the mall; but to suggest that these streets have a chance because of Centre Mall is ludicrous.
The East Hamilton Radio guy is right - big box complexes offer a chance for independents to locate nearby and offer something that has never been offered in a big box store - customer service.
The Spec sort of has it right - the Centre Mall project will help Ottawa Street. Not because it's such a great project, but because it's such a bad project.
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