Lost Opportunity to Redevelop Sandbar Property

By Jason Leach
Published November 17, 2011

Get ready to have your blood boil. The Hamilton Realty Capital Corporation had to pull out of their plans for the old Sandbar Tavern at 193 King Street East because the city pulled public health from the project and moved it to the McMaster project.

According to the report:

140 King William Street. City Council, at its meeting held August 13, 2009, approved the sale of 140 King William Street to the HRCC. The HRCC proposed to develop the municipal parking lot to accommodate a retail/commercial/institutional development together with a multi-level parking structure. Public Health was to be the anchor tenant, however the City decided instead, to put Public Health into the new McMaster Health Centre. The HRCC continued to seek prospective tenants for the development. The conditional offer was extended to September 1, 2011, however recently, the HRCC agreed to withdraw its offer in favour of Hamilton Police Services.

193 King Street East, the site of the former Sandbar Tavern. City Council at its meeting held September 27, 2006: accepted the transfer of 193 King Street East to the City by the Crown in Right of Ontario; declared the land surplus to the requirements of the City; and, requested that the City enter into negotiations with the HRCC for the purposes of transferring the property to the HRCC. The HRCC submitted an Offer to Purchase the property in April 2010. The HRCC proposed to incorporate 193 King Street East into the redevelopment of 140 King William Street. The conditional offer was extended to September 1, 2011, however, recently the HRCC agreed to withdraw its offer in favour of Hamilton Police Services

140 King William is the parking lot just north of 193 King Street East that backs onto it.

In an attached letter to Planning and Economic Development general manager Tim McCabe, HRCC President Richard Abboud wrote:

Revival and expansion of 140 King William with the addition of new tenants, including a francophone group, City Housing Hamilton, a grocery store, Public Health, and Parking. We believe this multi-stakeholder, mixed-use project of significant scale would have had a significant impact on Downtown Hamilton. The project was fully advanced from a conceptual, site planning, design and pre-construction standpoint, after a significant amount of time and effort expended by HRCC, its consultants and City Staff. This project was cancelled due to the loss of Public Health as the anchor tenant.

So: not only are we contributing tons of money to McMaster, we are also aiding in the demolition of the Board of Education building and killing a great mixed-use project on King William that would have had apartments, offices, public health, grocery store and parking garage.

For now, we're left with the beautiful string of surface parking lots on King William instead.

Does anyone know what the police have in mind? They are listed as the new prospective owner of the King William/Sandbar property.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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By rednic (registered) | Posted November 17, 2011 at 09:45:53

Wow the police will be the biggest land users downtown, don't they want the parking lots beside the moslem (?) center on wilson as well?

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 17, 2011 at 09:49:13 in reply to Comment 71326

as far as i know, yes. I'm not sure why or what they are planning, but this is a real missed opportunity to get some mixed-use development on King William.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted November 17, 2011 at 10:02:48

I think they may be building a jail funded by the Feds, they need somewhere to store all the hamilton cops who up on criminal charges !

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By randomguy (anonymous) | Posted November 17, 2011 at 11:17:42

Wow that Sandbar property just continues to languish. People talk about absentee landlords downtown not doing anything with their properties, but the city seems to be just as bad, if not worse.

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By City Sycophant (anonymous) | Posted November 24, 2011 at 20:38:44 in reply to Comment 71342

The City has developed more buildings in the King and King William area than any other public/private developer. City Views and City Places (next to Theatre Aquarius)were built several years ago. The new Gore building next to Pizza Pizza at King and John is the most recent addition. All of these buildings are market rent scenarios. Lastly, the City purchased the former strip club on King, next to the Gore building. It's slated for redevelopment in 2012, again, market rent units. Just sayin.

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By City Sycophant (anonymous) | Posted November 24, 2011 at 20:48:27 in reply to Comment 71601

Sorry, forgot to mention. I agree the City needs to move on the Sandbar property. There's no reason why it can't be redeveloped like the others I mentioned in my previous post.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted November 17, 2011 at 12:22:41

The police wanting the Sandbar property is a puzzle Jason. It's not big enough for the storage they've been seeking, are they running out of office space? You know, with all the budget increases and stuff...

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By tweet-tweet (anonymous) | Posted November 17, 2011 at 14:49:43

Maybe it can be the new Police Twitter HQ?

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted November 17, 2011 at 22:42:10

I'd heard rumours that the Police used the old Sandbar for tactical drills. That may explain why they want it.

As for Public Health, what's going to happen to the Wright House, which currently has the Public Health department as one of its main tenants?

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted November 19, 2011 at 18:41:57 in reply to Comment 71382

Tactical drills... Wow, that really enhances the downtown Hamilton experience. It was a combat zone so they've kept it a combat zone. Amazing.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted November 18, 2011 at 06:51:46

As a result of attending the Christopher Hume talk last night, I learned a few things about certain situations in Hamilton. This one amongst them. And my gut reaction was a little bit of conflicted turmoil.

On the one hand, we need more transparency.

On the other, sometimes people mucking about in situations not only doesn't improve what's going on, it can adversely affect the end result.

I'm not sure what the answer is...but seeing as I'm all about engagement, I think I'll throw in with the notion that we need more of it so that we don't end up taking the tack of frustration-born-of-perceived-helplessness.

I'm just sayin'...

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-11-18 06:52:31

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted November 24, 2011 at 17:06:48

Probably a dead thread but here is a Spec link:

Very sad to see development killed for this.

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By TnT (registered) | Posted November 25, 2011 at 15:06:59

Is this following link the property we are speaking about?

Many years ago I thought it would make a great reno piece like the Hotel Hamilton, or dare I say it a hostel or boutique hotel.

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