Barton-Kenilworth Design Study

Posted on Mar 21, 2014 In Audio Latest Updates Video

Renew Hamilton is tracking several interrelated urban design studies now underway that are meant to help determine the future development and redevelopment of neighbourhoods in the proximity of Hamilton’s West Harbour precinct.

The team responsible for the Barton-Kenilworth Commercial Corridors study held a public open house at the Dr. John M. Perkins Centre on March 20.  The purpose was to gather additional input on a draft Famework for Change report created by the design team in consultation with community stakeholders.

The design team is led by the City of Hamilton – Alan Waterfield, Senior Planner – and includes The Planning Partnership in association with Millier Dickinson Blais, Cushman & Wakefield and Thier + Curran Architects Inc.

The Barton Street commercial corridor study area runs 3 km from James Street North to Kenilworth Avenue. The Kenilworth Avenue study area runs a shorter distance from Barton to Main Street East.

These two corridors have experienced significant decline during the past forty years.  The decline – also seen in many comparable industrial cities across North America and beyond – happened in part due to the loss of nearby manufacturing jobs, the flight of people and retailing to the suburbs, and poor repair and maintenance of local assets.

Design team spokesperson Ron Palmer of The Planning Partnership (pictured above) opened his remarks by noting the scale and urgency of this renewal initiative. “Significant change,” he said, “needs to deal with the economic and marketability of the area, first and foremost.”  Palmer added that change must be managed and begin now.


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The draft Framework for Change report is built on the foundation of vision statements that emerged from a public consultation forum held in December 2013. The report advocates for coordinated and simultaneous action on three fronts: Create an economic environment for change, reduce the risk of the development process, and reduce the cost of development. 

One key long term goal is to create development economics that support private sector investments in buildings and amenities. At present, the market fundamentals that attract significant private sector investment – rising property values, population growth and density, higher than average income per capita, dynamism and predictability – are not sufficiently strong in the two study areas.

The design team’s recommendations are grouped in five categories: Land Use | Traffic Circulation and Parking | Public Realm | Incentives | Building Momentum (download presentation below to learn more). One standout recommendation calls for a rethink on the core function of these two corridors. With the decline of ‘main street’ retailing and commerce – and the unlikelihood of a comeback – how can opportunities for residential uses be blended into the predominantly commercial mix?  And how might this affect the form and character of these corridors?

A variety of individuals and groups are involved in the design process and will be key to facilitating change over time, including Neighbourhood Action Teams and the Barton Village Business Improvement Area.

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is playing a role through its Young Entrepreneurs and Professionals Division (community clean ups, support for Barton Street Real Estate Crawl, etc), Commercial Corridors Task Team (transit enabled economic development, etc.), and The Renew Hamilton Project.  In general, the Chamber’s focus is on promoting a private sector development response to revitalization opportunities in Hamilton.

The design team’s final report with recommendations will be presented to Hamilton City Council on July 7, 2014.  For more information, or to provide input, contact Alan Waterfield at 905-546-2424 x 1251 or 

CLICK HERE to View Open House Photos

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