Owners of a block of land on the corner of King and Sanford streets that’s listed for $2.5 million say they’re hoping to cash in the growing number of people who want to live near the Hamilton core.

The property, bordered by King, Sanford and Arthur streets, is just over one acre. It consists of the old Rocque restaurant and Superior Signs building, both of which have closed, plus a vacant lot.

Marino Rakovac is founder of White Star Group, which has owned the property since 1978. He said the company originally listed the land as three separate properties, but two weeks ago decided to sell the whole block as one package.

They have a plan for the site that includes the construction of a 120-unit, eight-storey building. Rakovac said if no developer is secured, the company will consider either building it themselves or going in on a joint venture.

The King and Sanford property is currently zoned commercial /residential but only allows one-storey buildings. Rakovac said that the official plan allows for buildings up to eight-storeys and that city staff have "responded favourably" during preliminary consultations.

Everything currently on the site would be demolished, including eight apartments above the stores that were built about 20 years ago.

Need for rental housing

Rakovac said more people are moving to Hamilton, but there aren’t a lot of affordable rental options.

Listing broker Angie Ammendolia, with Chase Realty, said only two rental buildings have been built in Hamilton since 1975.

"The population is growing and people are moving here because it’s more affordable, but you’ve got a limited stock of rentals," said Ammendolia.

"We felt the market was right. There’s limited inventory along King Street and very few rentals," said Rakovac.

The upcoming expansion of GO train service, plus the fact the land is on the LRT route, means the location would be perfect for commuters, Rakovac added.

"A key factor for us is the GO station, because it will push up the demand. You hear of people wanting to move here from Toronto but they don’t want to fight the traffic. When the GO station goes in, it will change all that," said Rakovac.

"It’s near the core and it’s going to mean more people living in the core area and it will help promote and intensify an infrastructure that’s already there," said Rakovac.

White Star Group is behind the West Harbour Villa at Tiffany Square, a high-end condominium redevelopment on Bay and Stuart streets.

Street view

A Google Street View of the area White Star Group is proposing for redevelopment. The existing structures would be replaced with an eight-storey residential building.