Developer withdraws application to demolish Gore Park buildings
Two buildings still slated to be torn down
A strip of historic buildings lining the south side of Gore Park will not be torn down, the company that owns the properties has announced.
Wilson Blanchard said it is withdrawing a request to the city to demolish the buildings at 18-22 King St., citing public outcry about the plan.
The firm said it will instead incorporate the facades of the buildings, a couple of which date from the mid-1800s, into a new development.
"I appreciate that Hamiltonians care about the history of their city," David Blanchard, the company's vice president, said in a statement.
"We've been looking long and hard at all the options and feel confident about this new direction."
Wilson Blanchard applied to demolish the buildings, as well as 24 and 28 King St. E. in early December. The plan inspired outrage among some Hamiltonians, who claimed the move showed a callous disregard for heritage architecture in the city.
In a conversation with CBC Hamilton, Blanchard said he's working with architect David Premi to work out a plan that would allow them "rip the back half off the buildings," while keeping the historic facades.
"We have to figure out exactly how to do that and how much they will cost," Blanchard said. "We still don't have any engineering on it yet."
He said he hopes for the renovation process on the 18-22 King St. E. buildings to begin in June.
However, the firm, Blanchard said, still plans to tear down 24 and 28 King St. E., two properties that were included in the original request for the city.
He also lauded Ward 2 councillor Jason Farr for helping for working with Wilson Blanchard to develop a compromise.
"Jason was helpful in trying to get this together. I was glad that he stepped forward to work with us to this point."
Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie, who sits on the city's heritage committee and had spoken out against the proposed demolition, responded to the compromise on Tuesday.
"Overall," he told CBC Hamilton, "it's a positive result."
With files from Flannery Dean