Paul Wilson has written a fabulous piece in today's Hamilton Spectator about Al Frisina, builder of Hamilton's tallest building, Century 21. It's now called Landmark Place and Mr Frisina doubts that we'll see anything taller built for quite some time.
It's a shame that he had to scrap the revolving restaurant at the top. Hamilton has a pile of hig-hrises downtown, but no top floor restaurant anywhere (not counting the cafeteria above city hall).
The articles mentions his first highrise building at Bay and Hunter. My wife and I lived there after we got married in 2001. The place is marvelous. The lobby was used by friends of our for their wedding pictures.
The heavy brass doorknobs still exist throughout and it is very obvious that the building was built with the highest quality.
How ironic that back in the 1960s Mr Frisina (a developer) had to bring in a consultant to prove to city hall that "they could save money on services by building up instead of out". Now, we've got city hall bringing in consultants trying to convince us that they should build out instead of up.
it makes me sad to realize that Hamilton city council knew about smart growth vs. dumb growth back in the '60s. They've just chosen to ignore the facts and have apparently been more than happy to waste citizen's money by growing outward over the past 30 years.
The basic principles of higher density growth vs. low density growth haven't changed since then. We hear a lot from the homebuilders about "free market economies" and how they're just "building what people want".
The last time I checked, wasting my tax money through massive sprawl subsidies by intentionally underutilizing city services, wasting precious farmland and adding to the health burden in our society is not a "free market".
It's no wonder sprawl has been called "the largest social program in the history of Western civilization". There's nothing free about it.
For those concerned about Hamilton's future, you'll want to attend the Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting at city hall on Thursday, February 1 at 9:30 AM.
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