Grand Old Lady prospers in another form

News Sep 17, 2009 Ancaster News

Hamilton’s Grand Old Lady will prosper -just in another form, says one of the partners in the Grand Connaught Development Group Inc.

For five years the consortium has pumped millions of dollars into trying to redevelop the 1916 Royal Connaught in downtown Hamilton.

They replaced aging systems, gutted the inside, and received millions of dollars of downtown grants from the city. But it was the financial meltdown last year that halted any further plans to establish the Connaught as a hotel.

“There was absolutely no possibility to sustain the plan,” Tony Battaglia, spokesperson for the group told councillors Sept. 15 during their committee of the whole meeting.

So in a bid to keep the Connaught alive, the partners applied to the city to transform the structure to accommodate affordable homes for seniors and the disabled.

“The Grand Old Lady will stay the Grand Old Lady,” he said. “(Affordable housing) is the only viable option. There is no plan B.

Under the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program, the group is applying for $18- million in government assistance for a $27-million mixed use development. If successful, it would receive $12.9 million from the housing program and $5.6 million in tax and fee concessions from the city. The deadline for the program’s application is Sept. 30.

Hamilton Mountain Liberal MPP Sophia Aggelonitis said the Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson will consider any application for affordable housing that appears on his desk.

The idea for the Connaught is to convert 100 units as affordable, meaning they would be 20 per cent below market value, another 106 units would be market-rent units, and there would be 20,000 square feet of commercial space, possibly including a restaurant.

The group bought the hotel after it went into receivership in 2004 for about $4.5 million.

One of the reasons Mr. Battaglia appeared before council was to calm the public’s fears and answer the many questions politicians have to the group’s change of direction.

Councillor Sam Merulla said the owners had to decide whether to keep the building empty or create a new project. They chose to make something of the structure, he said.

“Seniors are good folks to have in the neighbourhoods,” said Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie.

Mr. Battaglia emphasized building affordable units doesn’t mean the complex will house non-profit units, which residents and some politicians have expressed concerns about.

Grand Old Lady prospers in another form

News Sep 17, 2009 Ancaster News

Hamilton’s Grand Old Lady will prosper -just in another form, says one of the partners in the Grand Connaught Development Group Inc.

For five years the consortium has pumped millions of dollars into trying to redevelop the 1916 Royal Connaught in downtown Hamilton.

They replaced aging systems, gutted the inside, and received millions of dollars of downtown grants from the city. But it was the financial meltdown last year that halted any further plans to establish the Connaught as a hotel.

“There was absolutely no possibility to sustain the plan,” Tony Battaglia, spokesperson for the group told councillors Sept. 15 during their committee of the whole meeting.

So in a bid to keep the Connaught alive, the partners applied to the city to transform the structure to accommodate affordable homes for seniors and the disabled.

“The Grand Old Lady will stay the Grand Old Lady,” he said. “(Affordable housing) is the only viable option. There is no plan B.

Under the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program, the group is applying for $18- million in government assistance for a $27-million mixed use development. If successful, it would receive $12.9 million from the housing program and $5.6 million in tax and fee concessions from the city. The deadline for the program’s application is Sept. 30.

Hamilton Mountain Liberal MPP Sophia Aggelonitis said the Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson will consider any application for affordable housing that appears on his desk.

The idea for the Connaught is to convert 100 units as affordable, meaning they would be 20 per cent below market value, another 106 units would be market-rent units, and there would be 20,000 square feet of commercial space, possibly including a restaurant.

The group bought the hotel after it went into receivership in 2004 for about $4.5 million.

One of the reasons Mr. Battaglia appeared before council was to calm the public’s fears and answer the many questions politicians have to the group’s change of direction.

Councillor Sam Merulla said the owners had to decide whether to keep the building empty or create a new project. They chose to make something of the structure, he said.

“Seniors are good folks to have in the neighbourhoods,” said Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie.

Mr. Battaglia emphasized building affordable units doesn’t mean the complex will house non-profit units, which residents and some politicians have expressed concerns about.

Grand Old Lady prospers in another form

News Sep 17, 2009 Ancaster News

Hamilton’s Grand Old Lady will prosper -just in another form, says one of the partners in the Grand Connaught Development Group Inc.

For five years the consortium has pumped millions of dollars into trying to redevelop the 1916 Royal Connaught in downtown Hamilton.

They replaced aging systems, gutted the inside, and received millions of dollars of downtown grants from the city. But it was the financial meltdown last year that halted any further plans to establish the Connaught as a hotel.

“There was absolutely no possibility to sustain the plan,” Tony Battaglia, spokesperson for the group told councillors Sept. 15 during their committee of the whole meeting.

So in a bid to keep the Connaught alive, the partners applied to the city to transform the structure to accommodate affordable homes for seniors and the disabled.

“The Grand Old Lady will stay the Grand Old Lady,” he said. “(Affordable housing) is the only viable option. There is no plan B.

Under the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program, the group is applying for $18- million in government assistance for a $27-million mixed use development. If successful, it would receive $12.9 million from the housing program and $5.6 million in tax and fee concessions from the city. The deadline for the program’s application is Sept. 30.

Hamilton Mountain Liberal MPP Sophia Aggelonitis said the Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson will consider any application for affordable housing that appears on his desk.

The idea for the Connaught is to convert 100 units as affordable, meaning they would be 20 per cent below market value, another 106 units would be market-rent units, and there would be 20,000 square feet of commercial space, possibly including a restaurant.

The group bought the hotel after it went into receivership in 2004 for about $4.5 million.

One of the reasons Mr. Battaglia appeared before council was to calm the public’s fears and answer the many questions politicians have to the group’s change of direction.

Councillor Sam Merulla said the owners had to decide whether to keep the building empty or create a new project. They chose to make something of the structure, he said.

“Seniors are good folks to have in the neighbourhoods,” said Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie.

Mr. Battaglia emphasized building affordable units doesn’t mean the complex will house non-profit units, which residents and some politicians have expressed concerns about.