New owner takes possession of Hamilton mall; plans $700 million redevelopment

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

A new owner has taken possession of the Hamilton City Centre shopping mall and office building and is working to develop its possible $700 million construction concept for the 3.4 acre site on James St. N.

IN8 Developments plans a project that will convert the site into as many as five office and condominium towers, but the project probably will require upwards of three years for environmental assessments and other approvals, IN8 president Darryl Firsten told the Hamilton Spectator. “We are diligently working toward our site plan for early in the new year,” Firsten told the newspaper last week.

The only snag so far, he indicated, was the provincial government’s decision to cancel the Hamilton LRT project.

“I am disappointed but cautiously optimistic that something will happen and there will be a silver lining,” he was quoted as saying. “I find it impossible to imagine that a city the size of Hamilton would not have a major transportation system.”

Original owner Cadillac Fairview put the site up for sale last year for $60 million. Firsten said IN8 didn’t pay the listing price. “We knew we wanted to buy this place, because it required someone who could maybe see more than the mall that’s here today — to see what it could be,” he said in October.

Cadillac Fairview originally opened the mall in 1990. It has languished after Eaton’s failed, and other high end retailers left. Now, more than half the retail space on the shopping centre’s upper floors are leased for offices to clients including the City of Hamilton and TripCentral.ca.

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