Condo project on King William coming together quickly

Core Urban Inc. plans to restore two existing buildings — the former home of Reardon’s Meats and a convenience store at the northwest corner with Hughson Street, and a building two doors to the west which once housed The Framing Gallery on the ground floor.

Meredith MacLeod
The Hamilton Spectator

Core Urban Inc. wants to build a new six-storey structure on King William Street on a vacant lot that will connect with the buildings on either side.

Core Urban Inc. wants to build a new six-storey structure on King William Street on a vacant lot that will connect with the buildings on either side.

A proposed redevelopment of three properties on King William Street will bring 25 upscale residential rental units to the downtown.

Core Urban Inc. plans to restore two existing buildings — the former home of Reardon’s Meats and a convenience store at the northwest corner with Hughson Street, and a building two doors to the west which once housed The Framing Gallery on the ground floor.

In between the two is a vacant lot that was owned by Labourers’ Union of North America Local 837. A building on that lot that was deemed structurally unsound was demolished in 2008.

Core Urban wants to build a new six-storey structure on the vacant lot that will connect with the buildings on either side.

“We’ll be restoring two historic buildings and the missing tooth between them. We’ll house a central elevator and stairs so that all the buildings will effectively be one,” said Core Urban partner Steve Kulakowsky.

The upper floors will have one- and two-bedroom units ranging from $950 to $2,200 a month. The four ground-floor storefronts will be restaurants, says Kulakowsky.

“We are committed to having restaurants. Hamilton doesn’t really have a restaurant row but this is an opportunity. We want to build on the momentum of restaurants coming to Hamilton.”

The project is called Templar Flats, in recognition that the corner building, 37-39 King William, was called the Templar Building at the turn of the 20th century.

“We believe King William will continue to be an attraction. It has great walkability, the streetscape has uniformity and the architecture is fantastic.”

Downtown Coun. Jason Farr called the project “really encouraging.”

Core Urban bought the former Reardon’s Meats building for $1.5 million last fal to block a methadone clinic. But to make redevelopment feasible, Kulakowsky said they had to amass more space. He says both LIUNA and Synergy Developments, which owned 31 King William, were willing to sell because “they felt we would be adding value to the street.”

About a year ago, Synergy posted its own development plans for 31 King William, which included restaurant, retail or office space on the ground floor and residences above.

Core Urban, which has sold out of space in its recently completed Empire Times building on the northeast corner of King William and Hughson and has a project in the works for the former Sirloin Cellar property on James Street North, wants to move quickly on Templar Flats.

The project is scheduled to be discussed by city staff Wednesday and planning director Steve Robichaud expects conditional site plan approval will be issued after that. Once standard conditions are met, the developer can apply for a building permit.

The city’s design review panel of independent experts reviewed the project and was supportive, said Robichaud.

He says changes to the building code effective at the beginning of the year could make such low-rise infill developments more attractive to developers. The change allows wood-frame construction on buildings up to six storeys, instead of the more costly steel and concrete.

“That could be creating opportunities for small-scale, incremental organic growth.”

mmacleod@thespec.com
905-526-3408 | @meredithmacleod

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