Comment 71115

By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted November 08, 2011 at 02:24:04 in reply to Comment 71094

I will gladly qualify the why's. Lets start with the Delta Bingo area.

1 - Physical Appearance - The buildings themselves are tacky, tired or outright offensive (in the case of the News Stand) on the inside and incredible dated and worn down on the outside. It's unsightly mixture tan brick and dark grey exterior in a predominantly red brick/white/grey concreted area. It looks like a brutalist windowless warehouse attached to several irregularly jutted buildings as the Salvation Army Thrift store rises like some monument to meagerness and only reaching some degree of leveled architecture around Cheapies who used the yellow and colors to match their signage and product displays to a certain degree. The back is another depressing, decaying parking lot with rusted fire escapes and balconies where it also serves to further highlight the excessive street parking problem in the core. It is the singularly ugliest thing on King William, boasting no Windows, being oppressively close to the curb which limits the ability to be turned into something nice like the neighboring Right House.

2- Clients - Delta Bingo, The Salvation Army Thrift Store, The Hamilton News Stand and The Payday loan center attract a certain kind of client which damages the social profile of downtown. Now I'm not going to say these businesses don't have a right to exist, nor am I going to say everyone who frequents this locations is an undesirable, but given just how many times I've seem beggars, people screaming at one another or other sketchy looking characters here is far too numerous to count. These locations should be staggered away from one another instead clustered together, or as a type of "Vice St." off to the side (like say Lundy's Lane is in Niagara Falls) of which King St right next to Gore Park, clearly is not. You want a neat, tidy, cultured core so to attract and make it a business/urban center, what a core should be.

3 - Limited Improvement/Reuse Options - With the exception of the thrift store, these are 2/3 story developments. They lack the capacity to be adaptively turned into higher density developments. Now, I'm not a structural engineer, but I somehow doubt that they are able to have another three or floors added to them without costing more the buildings from scratch. The only route for exterior expansion or improvement is the elimination of parking behind the buildings which any redevelopment/alternate business will need to utilize to an extent and may also suffer from ownership issues pertaining to the parking lot behind it. The incredibly narrow nature of these buildings (save for the Bingo Hall) hamstrings their use and only the bingo hall has enough space to really accommodate interior improvements or make an exterior improvement with a partial demolition. More importantly there is little reason to ever make these improvements to beautify the area as the exsisting businesses have an incredibly static, consistent and regrettably depressing client base by nature and will likely stick around until a large jump in property taxes or some kind of expropriation occurs.

4 - Cost of repair - It has been my experience that throughout Hamilton the two/three floored buildings that sit directly on the city sidewalk on major streets are the buildings most frequently in ill repair. Barton St is the prime of example of this. This is due to the need to get much more red tapped filled, expansive permits for work/scaffolding/sidewalk closures etc. for exterior repairs and are often suffering from property values so low that the "owners" simply can't afford it or be bothered with the hassle of maintenance. Now the tax code for the core might also have something to do with it, but given that many of these buildings are quite aged, the cost of repairs tends to be high. Conversely, they lack sufficient size/density bring in more/larger income tenants/management who can maintain a larger building.

5 - Lack of History/Culture - Now I am for preserving buildings that boast some form of historical significance, provided that they still can be functional. These buildings don't qualify. They are pretty much as close as you can get to a boxes made of bricks. Buildings with history and culture should be preserved, buildings that are old, bland and repulsive should give way for something new.

6 - High Potential Location - This lot like many in Hamilton has a High degree of potential that is currently being squandered. It is on King William and Hughson which means easy underground parking access. It is down the street from Theatre Aquarius and also near Jackson Square. One needs only to look to the success of Filmwork Lofts to see that a condo development could work here. The problem is that no developer is going to touch it with the existing businesses surrounding it, or likely will deal with the existing buildings which are too small and dated to easily adaptively reuse like the old spectator print building.

So pretty much a mixture of "Don't like the businesses, find the block ecstatically unpleasing, can't see any sane businessman moving in if the current businesses moved out (save for major renovations to the Bingo hall, which would still be repulsively ugly) and the personal belief that a large scale medium density condo development with underground parking much more beneficial to this block and the core, regardless of if a storefront was located here or not.

Perhaps I should rephrase as I'm not so much as look for the removal of these buildings but something to replace them specifically with medium density highrise condos between 8-24 floors and getting away from the density lacking, poorly maintained 3-4 floor developments.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2011-11-08 03:53:36

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