Comment 65939

By misterque (registered) - website | Posted July 10, 2011 at 16:19:52

Many years ago (1998ish) the city chose to give away this property to a worthy civic organization. I felt that there would be an awesome match for the Player's Guild of Hamilton (North America's oldest community theatre group). At the time we were in the throws of renovating The Staircase. So I gathered up our architect (Brian McKibbon) and our contractor at the time and set about putting in a proposal for the Player's Guild to renovate the space into a 150 to 200 seat theatre. Hamilton still lacks a mid range theatre venue, things jump precipitously from under 100 seats to well over 300. We had the micro theatre (67 seats), and there were lots of 400 seaters.

I filled out all the forms once it was indicated by a board member of the Guild that they would consider it. Our contractor and architect kindly donated their time. Our work was even based on the sale of some of the Guild's surplus rental buildings. So the presentation (as I recall) was financially, architecturally and structurally sound.

Unfortunately a board member made an executive decision and did not submit the application for a free building. The building went to an less capable group devoted to street youth and unfortunately nothing ever came of that.

Sometimes you can bust a nut for urban renewal when everyone seems to be doing stuff right (St. Marks not selling to a developer, city giving building away), and it just does not happen.

Sad to hear that the building is structurally threatened. I have been through the lovely space in detail, it still would be a great civic hall, gymnasium, auditorium or theatre. Parking is not an issue as city hall parking is ample and available in the evenings.


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