45-storey ‘cylindrical’ tower pitched for west harbour

News May 21, 2020 by Matthew Van Dongen Hamilton Spectator

A startling proposal for a residential tower reaching up to 45-storeys in height is the upshot of a neighbourhood appeal of Hamilton’s Pier 8 redevelopment.

The “signature” cylindrical tower — paired with a shorter, 30-storey building — was pitched by pier redevelopment architect Bruce Kuwabara in a virtual meeting with neighbourhood residents Wednesday.

The celebrated architect, who grew up in the North End, said he sees the white tower as a “symbol of waterfront transformation” that would be evocative of — and visible from — the historic McQuesten high-level bridge.

The tower would also allow more family-sized units and on-pier parking in the planned harbourfront neighbourhood — which otherwise has an eight-storey height limit.

But there’s no guarantee a tower will go ahead at record-breaking heights — or even at all. “We have not yet decided whether there can be a tall building on the site or not,” said Chris Phillips, a city project lead on harbour development.

He said the city agreed to take a second look at the feasibility of higher buildings next to the Discovery Centre as part of a settlement of a Pier 8 project appeal, Phillips said. A consultant is already looking at a variety of heights, including mid-rises (think 10 or 12 storeys) or highrises 20 storeys and up.

That urban design study will recommend “appropriate” maximum building heights on harbourfront land city officials have long vowed would not be used for “skyscrapers.” Any tower proposal will need to survive public consultation, as well as council votes on zoning and official plan amendments.

Phillips said more public consultation is coming — but COVID-19 has temporarily prevented “traditional” meetings.

City council voted to partner with a consortium called Waterfront Shores in 2018 to redevelop the west harbour industrial pier into around 1,600 condo and townhouse units. Neighbours appealed the plan, but reached a settlement in November that obligates the city to consider planning amendments for a “mid-to-highrise” development next to the Discovery Centre.

Forty-five storeys would set a new highrise record in Hamilton, beating out the 43-storey Landmark Place downtown.

The North End Neighbours Association’s planning committee has recommended “further study” of the concept, telling members a tall building would have “some attractive aspects” — particularly increased family housing on the pier.

Herman Turkstra, who spearheaded the pier appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, said he is open to considering a “signature” building as a way to ensure more family housing and “reduce density” through the rest of the neighbourhood.

“If you had asked me two or three years ago if I would ever be supporting a tall building on the waterfront, I would not have been able to imagine that would work,” he said.

Some council members were caught off guard by the sky-high pitch. Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he had yet to hear the details of the proposal, but added a 45-storey tower sounded like a “non-starter.”

Coun. Chad Collins said city officials have promised for years to avoid the type of complaints about skyscrapers blocking the waterfront that have dogged Toronto. “It’s just totally contrary to anything we as a council have told residents about the vision for this development,” he said.

Matthew Van Dongen is a Hamilton-based reporter covering transportation for The Spectator. Reach him via email: mvandongen@thespec.com

45-storey ‘cylindrical’ tower pitched for west harbour

Well-known architect Bruce Kuwabara is proposing a skyscraper on the former industrial pier. For now, the building height limit is eight storeys.

News May 21, 2020 by Matthew Van Dongen Hamilton Spectator

A startling proposal for a residential tower reaching up to 45-storeys in height is the upshot of a neighbourhood appeal of Hamilton’s Pier 8 redevelopment.

The “signature” cylindrical tower — paired with a shorter, 30-storey building — was pitched by pier redevelopment architect Bruce Kuwabara in a virtual meeting with neighbourhood residents Wednesday.

The celebrated architect, who grew up in the North End, said he sees the white tower as a “symbol of waterfront transformation” that would be evocative of — and visible from — the historic McQuesten high-level bridge.

The tower would also allow more family-sized units and on-pier parking in the planned harbourfront neighbourhood — which otherwise has an eight-storey height limit.

But there’s no guarantee a tower will go ahead at record-breaking heights — or even at all. “We have not yet decided whether there can be a tall building on the site or not,” said Chris Phillips, a city project lead on harbour development.

He said the city agreed to take a second look at the feasibility of higher buildings next to the Discovery Centre as part of a settlement of a Pier 8 project appeal, Phillips said. A consultant is already looking at a variety of heights, including mid-rises (think 10 or 12 storeys) or highrises 20 storeys and up.

That urban design study will recommend “appropriate” maximum building heights on harbourfront land city officials have long vowed would not be used for “skyscrapers.” Any tower proposal will need to survive public consultation, as well as council votes on zoning and official plan amendments.

Phillips said more public consultation is coming — but COVID-19 has temporarily prevented “traditional” meetings.

City council voted to partner with a consortium called Waterfront Shores in 2018 to redevelop the west harbour industrial pier into around 1,600 condo and townhouse units. Neighbours appealed the plan, but reached a settlement in November that obligates the city to consider planning amendments for a “mid-to-highrise” development next to the Discovery Centre.

Forty-five storeys would set a new highrise record in Hamilton, beating out the 43-storey Landmark Place downtown.

The North End Neighbours Association’s planning committee has recommended “further study” of the concept, telling members a tall building would have “some attractive aspects” — particularly increased family housing on the pier.

Herman Turkstra, who spearheaded the pier appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, said he is open to considering a “signature” building as a way to ensure more family housing and “reduce density” through the rest of the neighbourhood.

“If you had asked me two or three years ago if I would ever be supporting a tall building on the waterfront, I would not have been able to imagine that would work,” he said.

Some council members were caught off guard by the sky-high pitch. Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he had yet to hear the details of the proposal, but added a 45-storey tower sounded like a “non-starter.”

Coun. Chad Collins said city officials have promised for years to avoid the type of complaints about skyscrapers blocking the waterfront that have dogged Toronto. “It’s just totally contrary to anything we as a council have told residents about the vision for this development,” he said.

Matthew Van Dongen is a Hamilton-based reporter covering transportation for The Spectator. Reach him via email: mvandongen@thespec.com

45-storey ‘cylindrical’ tower pitched for west harbour

Well-known architect Bruce Kuwabara is proposing a skyscraper on the former industrial pier. For now, the building height limit is eight storeys.

News May 21, 2020 by Matthew Van Dongen Hamilton Spectator

A startling proposal for a residential tower reaching up to 45-storeys in height is the upshot of a neighbourhood appeal of Hamilton’s Pier 8 redevelopment.

The “signature” cylindrical tower — paired with a shorter, 30-storey building — was pitched by pier redevelopment architect Bruce Kuwabara in a virtual meeting with neighbourhood residents Wednesday.

The celebrated architect, who grew up in the North End, said he sees the white tower as a “symbol of waterfront transformation” that would be evocative of — and visible from — the historic McQuesten high-level bridge.

The tower would also allow more family-sized units and on-pier parking in the planned harbourfront neighbourhood — which otherwise has an eight-storey height limit.

But there’s no guarantee a tower will go ahead at record-breaking heights — or even at all. “We have not yet decided whether there can be a tall building on the site or not,” said Chris Phillips, a city project lead on harbour development.

He said the city agreed to take a second look at the feasibility of higher buildings next to the Discovery Centre as part of a settlement of a Pier 8 project appeal, Phillips said. A consultant is already looking at a variety of heights, including mid-rises (think 10 or 12 storeys) or highrises 20 storeys and up.

That urban design study will recommend “appropriate” maximum building heights on harbourfront land city officials have long vowed would not be used for “skyscrapers.” Any tower proposal will need to survive public consultation, as well as council votes on zoning and official plan amendments.

Phillips said more public consultation is coming — but COVID-19 has temporarily prevented “traditional” meetings.

City council voted to partner with a consortium called Waterfront Shores in 2018 to redevelop the west harbour industrial pier into around 1,600 condo and townhouse units. Neighbours appealed the plan, but reached a settlement in November that obligates the city to consider planning amendments for a “mid-to-highrise” development next to the Discovery Centre.

Forty-five storeys would set a new highrise record in Hamilton, beating out the 43-storey Landmark Place downtown.

The North End Neighbours Association’s planning committee has recommended “further study” of the concept, telling members a tall building would have “some attractive aspects” — particularly increased family housing on the pier.

Herman Turkstra, who spearheaded the pier appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, said he is open to considering a “signature” building as a way to ensure more family housing and “reduce density” through the rest of the neighbourhood.

“If you had asked me two or three years ago if I would ever be supporting a tall building on the waterfront, I would not have been able to imagine that would work,” he said.

Some council members were caught off guard by the sky-high pitch. Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he had yet to hear the details of the proposal, but added a 45-storey tower sounded like a “non-starter.”

Coun. Chad Collins said city officials have promised for years to avoid the type of complaints about skyscrapers blocking the waterfront that have dogged Toronto. “It’s just totally contrary to anything we as a council have told residents about the vision for this development,” he said.

Matthew Van Dongen is a Hamilton-based reporter covering transportation for The Spectator. Reach him via email: mvandongen@thespec.com