45-storey waterfront tower project in Hamilton moves forward; public consultation scheduled for March
A 45-story waterfront tower designed by famed architect Bruce Kuwabara moved closer to completion on Tuesday as Hamilton City Council’s planning committee agreed on a process to move it forward – despite certain local objections, it will block sightlines from the water, be incompatible with nearby industry, and set a precedent for high-rise buildings that could transform the local waterfront into the “hip” skylines of Toronto and Burlington.
The tower would be located in the northwest corner of the Pier 8 parcel being developed into a new community, partially covering the land that is currently the ice rink parking lot. Kuwabara, who grew up in the North End neighborhood where the development is located, told the committee that a 30-storey tower should adjoin the tallest building on that plot of land.
“I’m determined it’s going to be a really good building,” he said, describing an aerodynamic cylinder where the designers “distinguish the top [and] really articulate the stick… One of the things I commit to is comfort in the pedestrian realm. It’s a very windy site.”
The towers are part of a larger development across the pier which will see a total of 1,645 homes built in a new community between Guise Street and Hamilton Harbour. If all 45 floors are approved – a decision the committee will finalize later – it will make room for more family units of two or more bedrooms across the development, said James Webb, a land use planner. working with the city and KPMB of Kuwabara on the project.
If approved, the building would become the tallest in Hamilton. The Landmark Place downtown apartment building is 43 stories high and sits at a slightly higher elevation, so the new building will actually appear to be two meters lower.
Walking advisers through his firm’s preliminary designs, including some models showing what the tower would look like from different parts of the city, Kuwabara said it would be visible from places such as the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Park Sam Lawrence, Lasalle Park in Burlington and the McQuesten and Skyway Bridges. “My hope is that through this process [we achieve] something that would last; a marker; something you could watch.”
Kuwabara’s past local work includes reworkings of the Hamilton Art Gallery and the James Stewart Center for Mathematics at McMaster University. His firm’s work has received numerous Governor General’s Awards in Architecture.
The next step in the process includes a public information session on March 8 and design review boards, which is scheduled to be held on March 10 and April 27, according to the city. Participants will be asked to weigh in on three design options, providing feedback that will be incorporated into the final design to be submitted to the board in the fall.
“There will be a lot of talk about tall towers”
District 2 Com. Jason Farr says he is pleased to see the improved public engagement process for this building, which will take into account citizen feedback before the design is finalized. In an email to CBC Hamilton, Farr called the proposed tower “a unique and historic concept from a world-renowned architect who grew up a few blocks away. I’m intrigued by the plot so far and that will no doubt lead to a robust engagement in the North End.”
At the meeting, he said he expected the historic building proposal to spark discussion.
“There will be a lot of talk about tall towers…not just in the North End, but all over the city.”
The idea of such a massive building on the waterfront does not appeal to everyone. Guise Street resident Tal Srulovicz wrote to the committee, saying the building would obstruct views of the waterfront, cast shade on the neighborhood and bring unwanted traffic to streets in the area.
“I would like to understand why the city has completely forgotten about the people of Guise St. – people who have lived along the waterfront for years,” it read. Srulovicz’s letter.
“The interference with the enjoyment of our property has been completely neglected in this redevelopment… Please understand that I have no objection to developing the waterfront, making it more beautiful and more commercial. I understand that it is important for the city. However, in the process of this redevelopment, the residents of Guise St. have been neglected.”
Toronto law firm Borden Ladner Gervais wrote on behalf of the Parrish and Heimbecker Flour Mill on Pier 10, suggesting “there has been inadequate consultation with existing industries” which may not fit in well with the thousands of new residents.
Professor and author Daniel Coleman wrote the committee to warn that approving such a building could be a slippery slope.
“Once a building this tall is built, everyone’s view will be blocked while the building is standing,” Coleman wrote. “Furthermore, once a developer is granted an exemption to the eight-storey rule [in the area’s secondary plan], what argument will be used to refuse the next promoter to request an exemption? Before we know it, we’ll have the hip waterfront skylines of Toronto and Burlington. »
However, two local neighborhood associations, North End Neighborhood Association and Harbor West Neighbors Inc., support the project.
“Bringing families to Pier 8 and the North End clearly confirms our belief that we are a ‘kid and family friendly neighborhood by the bay'” wrote Andrew Robinson, President of the North End Neighborhood Association (NENA). “As people know, NENA has always taken a strong stance on building heights in the neighborhood and [some] may question our support for the proposed building.
“We see this building as a unique signature/landmark that will bring children and families into the community, not as a precedent. This needs to be understood and made clear when the committee makes its decision.”