Summer is the time for love... and construction.
In Hamilton, major development projects are happening all around the city. It's not like this in every town. In fact, Hamilton is bucking an national construction trend — Statistics Canada released numbers in early July showing an eight per cent increase in commercial investment in the city.
Here's a look at eight major projects happening around Hamilton.
Royal Connaught condos
One of the grandest spots inside the Royal Connaught was the lobby. That is where the design and construction for the new residences in this historic hotel will start, said Kim Graham, who is dealing with media requests for the development.
"Development is underway in the lobby," she said, but it is still quite early in construction.
The three towers of the downtown condo building will be 36, 33 and 24-storeys with a total of 708 units. 135 of those units will be inside the original hotel, opened in 1916 by Harry Frost.
Hometown Hamilton developers Spallacci Group and Valery Homes previously told CBC Hamilton the presentation centre, located in that grand lobby, will open in 2013. The first round of occupancy is set for 2015.
Dundas District Lofts
Heritage restoration "whenever possible" was the motto for brothers Dave and Mike Valvasoris Dundas development.
Construction of a 44-unit loft building in the former Dundas District School building at 397 King Street West is underway with a goal of spring 2014 occupancy, Dave said. The loft unit will feature the original, restored staircases, stained glass and doors form 1929. The Valvasoris are also using the school's original blackboards in the front foyer and hallways to display historical photos and images from yearbooks, including a picture of the first graduating class from 1929.
"We're trying to pay homage to the school wherever possible," Dave said.
The Valvarsoris put shovels in the ground in Sept. 2012 when their building permit was approved. Dave said it's a top-down restoration, so construction starts on the third floor. Right now, work is being done to green retrofit the building, Dave said, installing in-floor heating and spray insulation to the walls, where there was no insulation before.
Within the next three weeks, Valvasori expects the presentation centre will be open on the loft site, including three model suites of units in the building: one-bedroom units with an east view, a park view and an escarpment view.
"All the units are very unique," he said. "We let the buildings tell us where units will be."
The units range from a one-bedroom 780 sq. ft. unit to a 2-bedroom plus den, 2-story 2300 sq ft.
The former school building at 211 Stinson Street has been an eyesore for local residents for a while, but developer Harry Stinson insists people will be moving into his loft building as early as September or October.
"We see the light at the end of the tunnel," Stinson said. "It may be a little scruffy on the outside."
The 118-year-old schoolhouse is about three-quarters sold, Stinson said, with mostly the penthouse and large units still on the market. The units range from a 650 sq. ft. studio to a 2200-sq ft. 2-bedroom.
Construction on the project started about a year and a half ago, and right now it's down to the finishing touches inside and a lot of work landscaping on the outside.
"We won't be doing anything on the outside until the inside is done," he said, adding there may still be outdoor work to be done when residents are moving in.
Once all is said and done, Stinson is certain it will contribute to downtown's revival.
"It will be good for downtown," he said. "It shows it's a place to live and not a scary place."
McMaster University's downtown Health Campus
Construction is starting to peek out from above the boards that line Bay at Main Street on the former Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. McMaster University's new downtown health campus is gaining height, said Gord Arbeau, director of public relations.
"We're on schedule and progress continues to be made," he said.
The campus, slated for a fall 2014 opening, is a $84.6 million project and will be both a site for health sciences students and a clinic. McMaster plans to host 4,000 students and 450 staff members.
Throughout the summer, Arbeau said construction workers will be "adding height to the building."
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Education Centre
Earlier this year, the HWDSB embarked on a massive construction project - building a new education centre to amalgamate staff who used to be in five buildings under one roof.
The $31.6 million project on Millwood Place is on schedule and budget, said Melissa Cohen-White, the school board's project manager. Completion is set for July 2014.
"In a few weeks, you'll see columns and beams," she said. "Then the concrete floor slab system."
The new education centre will house 478 staff who work in business services, maintenance, human resources and IT and the board of trustees. Inside, Cohen-White said there will also be large meeting rooms and a large lobby for "community collaboration," she said.
The finished building will also incorporate the frieze from the former downtown school board, as well as marble slabs. The frieze, Cohen-White said, will hang above the entry to the boardroom.
A project with the potential to bring more tourists to Hamilton is near completion. Homewood Suites, located at Bay and Main streets, is slated to open in October, said Olga Katsaros, executive assistant to developer Darko Vranich.
Vranish's company, Vrancor Group, also built and opened the Staybridge Suites just down the street from the new hotel.
Katsaros said the hotel will employ about 70 full and part-time staff and have the capacity for 400 guests. There will also be retail space on Bay Street, she said.
Amenities include an indoor pool, fitness centre, lounge and bar and 10 meeting rooms.
Jack Beume remembers Hamilton like it was decades ago.
"It was active, money-driven," he said. "And then it literally died."
Beume is a local developer who wants to bring downtown Hamilton back to life with his projects, the latest being a new commercial space on James Street North, at Vine Street.
"It will be a very attractive, warm, red brick building," Beume said.
The three-floor commercial building has 31,600 sq. ft. of net, or useable, space, he said, designed to accommodate four retailers and an office space. He already has tenants who have signed on. Those tenants will also be privy to a rooftop garden, and both surface and underground parking.
Right now, Beume's construction team is putting beams in the ground to prevent the street from caving in when digging begins. Beume said there will be crane in the ground come September and "once that happens, [the building] will go up zip-zip."
Beume is also proud that his project is homegrown.
"This building is Hamilton-driven: Hamilton developer, Hamilton builder, Hamilton lender," he said.
Tenants are expected to be able to move in June 2014, Beume said.
Tim Hortons Field
The $147.5 million stadium that will house the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is on budget and on schedule, said Terence Foran, project communications advisor with Infrastructure Ontario, who is overseeing the development.
Foran said the foundation work is nearly complete on the former Ivor Wynne Stadium site and part of the structural bones have already been erected. Later in the summer, Hamiltonians will see a metal deck being installed that will be the new stadium's floor.
Tim Hortons Field will hold 22,500 spectators, fewer than Ivor Wynne, but 40,000 temporary seats can be added in the end zones for special events.
The stadium will be the home for all 32 men's and women's soccer games during the 2015 Pan Am Games.