Comment 87968

By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted April 19, 2013 at 01:43:04

Today I was walking down James St N. enjoying the sights if you will. The armoury, the Anglican Church, James & Colbourne, Ventura's, and the gorgeous building across the street from it and thought and lamented the state of one of the owls utop the corner of James and York. These are great buildings that are unique, but compliment the general design of the place.

Then I came across the west block bounded by Vine and Cannon and thought, wow, if there was a place that needed to start anew, it was it. It was a boarded up, near exact duplicate of the (complete) building across the street, in ill repair, with a monstrous middle section of glass, cheap steel and rusted panelling, shifting between two and three floors, and clearly even if in ideal condition, would not boast an appreciable amount of density, from say a five floor Lister Block or old Federal Building (on James, not John or Main) style development.

Then I thought, but that won't happen because despite it languishing for years, the heritage advocates would do everything to stop it, simply because it's on James St. and it's old.

Now perhaps that middle section is the exact thing this article touches base on, as that middle section is out of place, and seems that someone clearly did a partial demo of that part of the building and built something awful out of the materials of the time cheaply. It certainly does not match the predominant brick aesthetic of the street around it. However, that didn't change that the place was a blight to look upon, especially since the owner treated it like a glass warehouse exposed to the world. The empty gravel lot next to it, did little to change my opinion of it either, but one must ask if it hadn't existed and the rest of the older brick building was intact, albeit still in it's it's duplicate, languishing state, would it be all that much better?

The point of this comment? It matters not if it's old or new. If it's not unique, if it's a generic regurgitation of the houses next to it and lacks any sense of character, is is hard to have pride in it. Take a walk down Cumberland at Wentworth, is that a Street you can say is an shinning example of what Hamilton is? It's one of the many other reasons I'm so vehemently opposed to the sprawl on the mountain, because so much of it is generic, cookie cutter housing that history shows, languishes once it begins to show it's age. A west mountain suburb of mixed floor housing, Bungalows and different bricks and materials it is not.

Now, that's not to say I want it replaced with a stucco box, but sometimes part of a good neighbourhood is allowing something new to be created and make new character. Something new, but still pays service to the area's design. Sometimes the wrecking ball is the greatest boon, it's just a shame a lack of developer follow up in the past has made any building demolition a mortal sin to so many in this city.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2013-04-19 01:47:41

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