Hamilton decision coming soon on new proposal for taller Pier 8 condo tower
Published October 30, 2023 at 7:44 pm
City council is poised to decide by December whether to approve the revised proposal for a 45-storey residential tower on the Pier 8 site in Hamilton, which is taller than originally envisioned.
The Block 16 condo tower at 65 Guise St. will be part of the nine development blocks on Pier 8.
The revised plan for the mixed-use residential tower includes sustainable features, increased height (an eight-storey building was originally proposed), and 364 affordable housing and family units. It is unknown how many of the tower’s units will be affordable housing, however, five per cent of the 1,645 units at the entire Pier 8 site will be geared towards that purpose.
The site is part of Hamilton’s massive West Harbour redevelopment project that aims to transform the waterfront into a vibrant, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly and transit-friendly destination. Pier 8 already has a park, public space, roads, sidewalks, an ice rink, William’s Fresh Cafe and the Discovery Centre.
In a phone interview with inthehammer.com, Chris Phillips, manager of the Hamilton’s Municipal Land Development Office, said council will decide in November or December whether to approve the tower on the “block 16” site. The application requires approval of the official plan and zoning amendments.
“The overall development will take between 10 and 15 years,” Phillips said. “We’re at the first stages of that development now. The tower is only one part of the overall development.”
The Pier 8 site will mostly have four- to eight-storey condo buildings, some of which will have commercial uses on the ground floor. Plans for all the buildings except the tower have been approved.
Phillips said the first condos to be built will be on blocks 3 and 6 whose units will start preselling later this year.
He said this is the only project in Hamilton that mandates an agreement with the developer that five per cent of units must be affordable housing. Habitat for Humanity will be operating the affordable housing on the site, which will have at least nine buildings.
“I think the only real obstacle is for people to look at how the new vision can actually accentuate Hamilton’s waterfront because a tower was never originally planned for the site,” he said.
For the entire Pier 8 site, he said 15 per cent of units must have at least be two bedrooms so families could live in them.
The tower is proposed as the first triple-certified residential building of its kind in Canada.
This means the building promises to meet all three sustainability-related standards of a “robust” third-party certification process including design reviews, commissioning and testing.
City reveals new site design for proposed tower
During a virtual presentation on June 19, City staff from the Municipal Land Development Office revealed updates on the project including the tower’s revised design.
The tower on Block 16 is among nine development blocks on Pier 8, a future urban waterfront community. The entire Pier 8 site will have 1,645 residential units and over 1,400 parking spaces on about 13,000 square metres of commercial and institutional space.
For the Pier 8 proposal, 40 per cent of the total site area will be publicly accessible open space with extra “walkable landscape” connected to the City-owned parks and paths to the waterfront.
Pier 8 has parks and public spaces as well as proposed new development, Phillips said. It has a new Copps Pier Park, which wraps all around the water’s edge of Pier 8 and opened in the summer of 2022.
The most significant work on the West Harbour redevelopment plan is happening in Pier 6, Pier 7 and Pier 8, said Phillips.
“Over the next several years, Hamilton’s waterfront will be transformed into a vibrant, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly and transit-supportive destination,” according to the City’s website.
Phillips said the City is working with a consortium called Waterfront Shores, made up of three Toronto-based builders Tercot Communities, Cityzen Development Group and Greybrook Realty Partners, to develop the area.
The proposed building has two cylindrical forms, joined below the 31st floor. A singular cylindrical form will stand at 45 storeys.
The City said the proposed tall building is meant to be seen as a landmark, serving as a visual anchor within the waterfront that signifies the revitalization of the Hamilton Harbour.
The Block 16 tower will have Energy Star appliances, LED lighting and “healthier materials” that staff said will reduce exposure to harmful chemicals typically found in building materials. Enhanced air filtration will remove pollutants that can cause headaches and even long-term effects such as asthma. Moreover, it will have “thermal comfort monitoring” to keep temperatures comfortable for residents. Trees, canopies and paving material will be designed to “mitigate extreme heat events.”
The tower will also have enhanced water filtration to improve drinking water quality as well as moisture resistant finishes in kitchens and bathrooms to prevent mould. Water efficient fixtures will reduce indoor water use by 40 per cent.
A 48-hour back-up power and a refuge area will be available for residents during emergencies, including power to charge phones and allow the premises to cool down during heatwaves.
The spaces will be designed to promote movement and health, including plants and other natural elements as well as daylight and dimmable lighting to support healthy circadian rhythm.
The West Harbour redevelopment project is a $140-million City investment, mostly comprised of parks, public spaces and infrastructure, said Phillips.
He said the entire project is valued at over $1 billion and once it’s completed, it’s expected to generate about $10 million per year in net municipal taxes.
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