Hamilton supports Waterfront Shores proposal to turn Pier 8 into a 'jewel'

The proposal calls for 1,292 condominium units, themed retail zones and affordable housing.

Mayor says plan will transform the concrete slab into something the city can be proud of

City staff are supporting a proposal from the Waterfront Shores Corporation to build hundreds of condominium units, retail and walkable public space on Pier 8. (Waterfront Shores Corporation)

An ambitious plan to turn the concrete slab that currently makes up most of Hamilton's Pier 8 into a residential area bristling with condominiums where "all streets lead to the water" has been selected by councillors. 

Members of the Planning and Economic Development committee endorsed the proposal from the Waterfront Shores Corporation to make it the developer who will transform the area. The decision was debated  behind closed doors Wednesday and will need council's ratification next week.

In a statement, Mayor Fred Eisenberger said the development represents nearly 30 years of combined work from current and past councils and will turn Pier 8 into a "waterfront jewel."

"I ... look forward to seeing the visionary concept of The Waterfront Shores Corporation become a reality for all Hamiltonians – and visitors to our city to enjoy," he wrote.

The Waterfront Shores proposal calls for 1,292 condominium units in 20 separate buildings, town houses and other affordable accommodations that will be spread throughout the development.

The proposal from the Waterfront Shores Corporation calls for more than 1,000 condominium units, affordable housing and public spaces. (Waterfront Shores Corporation)

Commercial space, themed retail zones for fitness and health and a fresh food market are also all part of the plans.

A media release from the city provides some detail of the consortium's plans, including a focus on creating a community hub, public, walkable space and the possibility of offering Hamilton-based startups working to create intelligent-city and green technologies to use Pier 8 to test out their latest creations.

Hamilton-born architect is project lead

The proposal was selected from a list of five proposals and the recommendation includes "exclusive negotiations" for the purchase and development of the Pier 8 lands — except for the former Marine Discovery Centre, which has not been put up for sale.

Bruce Kuwabara, a renowned architect who grew up in Hamilton and works with KPMB Architects, is the lead on the Pier 8 project team that includes Cityzen Development Corporation, Fernbrook Homes Group, GFL Environmental Inc. and Greybrook Realty Partners Inc.

The support from councillors comes after decades of work to redevelop the pier. (Waterfront Shores Corporation)

In a video, he  describes the plan as a "series of progressive, modern and ambitious buildings" that allows the landscape to lead — "all streets lead to the water."

Check out the Waterfront Shores proposal:

Construction to start by mid-2019

Eisenberger said the the project will make Hamilton proud and boost the city's economy by creating hundreds of jobs.

He added the negotiation of the development agreement should take place by fall 2018 and construction should start by mid-2019.

The residential proposal is Part 2 of redevelopment at the site. "Hammer City," a design based on the Hamilton's industrial and waterfront heritage, was selected for public spaces around the pier back in 2017.

(Forrec Ltd)