By: Elizabeth Ivanecky
At this moment in time, Hamiltonians are consciously choosing to change the current cultural fabric and reputation of Hamilton. A great place to see this transformation of the Hamiltonian culture and reputation is in its real estate.
This transformation is redefining Hamilton as a place that preserves the old and openly accepts the new — holding onto and respecting the traditions of Hamilton’s heritage and welcoming the creative energy of Hamiltonians, both past and present.
Local and distant real estate developers have been purchasing local heritage properties and revitalizing them for locals and new Hamiltonians alike. Maintaining parts of Hamilton’s local heritage in the structure of new condominiums and apartments adds to the character of the structure and respects the integrity of the original in some way.
You have the developers of your new condo in downtown Hamilton to thank for giving you the privilege of sleeping in a room that once was occupied by citizens of the city in the 1830s.
On the developer’s side, the risk-taking nature of local Hamiltonian real estate developers is down-right inspiring as well. Diane Koz of Stinson Developments, a real estate firm based in Hamilton, stresses the importance of having a vision when it comes to purchasing a property that will be adapted for the community.
“[Harry Stinson] wouldn’t have bought [the Gibson School Lofts located on Barton Street] in a rundown area of town, if he believed it would stay rundown — he believes in bringing it back to life,” she says on the man behind the buildings. Meticulous attention to detail goes into pumping life-blood back into these buildings so that Hamiltonians can enjoy their splendor.
Hamilton is a city in which its cultural activities and attractions are in close proximity to its housing. Unlike cities like Ottawa that require long bus rides or may not even be connected by local transportation, Hamilton is well connected by public transit.
Take the Royal Connaught Condominiums at the corner of King and John Street East. The hotel is an ideal location for housing since it is located right at the heart of the downtown core close to Jackson Square, the Harbourfront and James Street, the cultural hot-spot in the city.
“It’s not just about the prices,” when it comes to the appeal of real estate in Hamilton over Toronto real estate says Peter Scott, also from Stinson Developments.
Scott also buffs up Hamilton as a surprisingly environmental city.
“Not many people realize that Hamilton is such a green city with its waterfalls and the Escarpment.” Even though affordability is definitely a lure into Hamilton, it is not what keeps new Hamiltonians enthralled by its mysterious nooks and crannies.
It is also no surprise that adapting a vacant lot into a condo or apartment is also the more environmentally friendly option than demolition. Published studies estimate that 20 percent of landfill debris is made up of waste from demolishing heritage buildings. More and more often today, Hamilton real estate developers are using what they have to work with in a building instead of adding to that 20 percent in the landfills.
I’ll be the first to admit that Hamilton has had its fair share of bad luck when it comes to housing, but older and newer generation Hamiltonians are working with what the neighbourhood has to bring it back to its glory days.
So if you’re finishing up your undergrad or grad degrees and looking to settle down in a hip city, you need to start considering real estate options in Hamilton. Condos are selling like hotcakes, so get on the front-end of this new trend before you just end up following everyone on this bandwagon.