Developer has ambitious plans for Hamilton's City Centre Mall


The soon-to-be new owner of Hamilton's City Centre Mall met with members of the media, City of Hamilton staff and members of the public Tuesday (Oct. 29) to talk about his vision for the 3.54-acre property.

Darryl Firsten, president of the Toronto-based IN8 Developments, said he and his company are interested in getting in on Hamilton's 'renewal.'

"We like to be trailblazers," he said at a gathering held at Urban Strategies's new Collaborative Studio across from the mall on James Street. "Hamilton is just starting out, in our opinion, and we want to try and bring people back downtown."

His vision for the property, that was formerly the site of Hamilton's Eaton's Centre, is to create a mixed-use live/work/play series of complexes that will house businesses and condominiums.

"Our company deals with high-density urban intensification," Firsten said. "We want to reinvent the urban centre."

Firsten’s vision for the downtown core was lauded by Hamilton’s director of economic development, Glen Norton, as ‘exciting.’

IN8 is currently working on a 40-storey condo complex in the Kitchener-Waterloo region and they have developed a number of student condo complexes in Waterloo and Kingston over the years, according to their website.

For Hamilton's City Centre, Firsten envisions several 28-storey commercial and residential towers. Buildings in the downtown can be no taller than 30 storeys under Hamilton's Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan.

Whatever the development, Jackson Square will, for the moment, be taken into account as far as the planning process goes, which, Firsten said, is in the very early stages.

When asked about why Firsten and IN8 had set their sights on Hamilton, he praised the city's significant heritage component, it's proximity to the water and Toronto.

Firsten was most enthusiastic about the impending development of Hamilton's LRT and our recently increased access to GO Transit with the development of the West Harbour GO Station.

Shovels in the ground on this project are a long way off, Firsten cautioned.

"We're at least three years down the road before construction," he said. "We want to work with the city and community and make this happen. We want this to happen."

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