City gets a second chance at its dream to buy West 5th land
The land includes Century Manor, which is one of the oldest buildings in the city
For a while, it looked like Hamilton missed its chance to buy the old West 5th Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital land. Now, at the last minute, the dream is revived.
The city has always been interested in the 12 hectares (28.77 acres) on the scenic Mountain brow, says Ray Kessler, manager of real estate.
Last year, he said, the city expressed interest in negotiating for it. But Infrastructure Ontario (IO) chose another public agency, which it's been negotiating with for the last year.
Those negotiations apparently ended, and last week, (IO) approached the city. Now the city has until Nov. 11 to say it wants to negotiate.
"They are now giving us an opportunity to step in and acquire the land," Kessler said.
City councillors have been inching toward doing just that. In late September, council voted to look into the feasibility, process and budget of buying the land. This week, city council's general issues committee voted to move ahead.
It's been more than a year since the province declared the land, which includes the 1884 heritage building Century Manor, surplus.
Other government agencies had until March 9, 2015 to say if they wanted it. Kessler says the city expressed interest then.
IO confirmed in September that it was negotiating with another public body. But Kessler says that wasn't the city. Mohawk College confirmed in September that it wasn't them either.
Pending a city council vote next week, Hamilton is taking its new chance.
Terry Whitehead, Ward 8 councillor, foresees buying the land and having a secondary plan similar to the one at west harbour.
For IO's part, spokesperson Ian McConachie would only say that the agency is talking with a party that "expressed interest throughout our circulation process."
He wouldn't say if that's the city.