On June 6, council announced that they’d made a decision on which of the four Pier 8 development finalists had been selected as their preferred design. The winning firm was Waterfront Shores, with Hamilton-born Bruce Kuwabara as lead architect.
The plans call for 1,292 condo units and 65 affordable housing units spread across 20 buildings. The harbourside community will have themed street-level retail while ensuring that each building is architecturally diverse.
Waterfront Shores intends on keeping over 40% of the site as open space in an effort to “drastically increased the amount of places for people to gather, both inside and out, for annual and seasonal events”. The landscape strategy extends themes of green parkland, both formal and informal, into the courtyards of all Blocks.
Expect 1.6 kilometers of walkable landscape that’s designed so that all pathways connect the residents and visitors with the community and water. There’ll be particular focus to connect and integrate with the new Promenade Park known as “Hammer City” which a jury selected as the winning park design in September of last year.
In addition to maximizing green space at ground level, the majority of buildings are planned to have 60% green roofs.
While many citizens shared their excitement for the project, some were concerned about the lack of affordable housing. The 65 affordable housing units is equivalent to the 5% minimum set by council. This minimum commitment is also only guaranteed for a finite 15-year time frame.
Other concerns arising from the development is the ongoing lawsuit between the city and former Discovery Centre tenant Sarcoa. The Discovery Centre is a large public structure located in the North-West corner of the pier that used to house Parks Canada and the Sarcoa restaurant.
In an effort to ease developers interested in bidding for the Pier 8 lands, council voted in January to buy out the 45-year lease of the former Discovery Centre and its parking lots for $3 million, which is to be paid in annual installments.
Whether or not the Discovery Centre will remain in public hands or be sold to the winning Pier 8 developer to be repurposed or integrated into the final design is a contentious issue among Hamiltonians. Last week, there was a public meeting on this very topic where residents had the opportunity to write down possible institutional uses for the building, which Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr said he’d share with council.
According to The Spectator, the future of the Discover Centre “will be brought before council in a separate report from staff this summer”.
While it appears that council is set on this winning design, the decision must still be ratified in a final vote on Wednesday, June 13.
Now we turn it to you. What are your thoughts on the winning Pier 8 design? What should be done about the Discovery Centre? Let us know in the comments below!