The City of Hamilton is once again throwing good planning to the, ahem, cats, as the McMaster Innovation Park becomes the latest long-term planning project being tackled by a desperate search for a stadium site to house the Pan Am Games/new home for the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
Will McMaster trade this planned job creation and innovation nexus for a football stadium with 10 home games a year and a massive parking lot?
Jane Jacob’s warning against “Cataclysmic” money is a fitting caution for this quick turn-around involving millions of dollars. Perhaps Panic Planning is not conducive to good decisions. What do you think?
City, Cats must deal with Mac
September 1, 2010
THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR
Now that the city and the Tiger-Cats have agreed to explore the idea of building a Pan Am stadium on a key piece of McMaster’s research park, it’s time to ask the university what it thinks of the proposal.
The answer is far from certain.
Given that it’s only two weeks before the city has to submit a stadium plan to Games organizers, McMaster is expecting to hear from the city soon, something that had yet to happen, at least formally, as of late yesterday.
Until there is a clear, detailed request, the university is reserving judgment on how it will respond.
Spokesperson Andrea Farquhar said McMaster is ready to work with the city, but also made it clear the university already has plans for the site.
“We’re happy to sit down with them and find out more about what their ideas are, and then balance those off with the intentions and goals of MIP,” she said. “We don’t have enough information right now.”
McMaster Innovation Park includes roughly equal pieces of property on both sides of Longwood Road South, between Highway 403 and Aberdeen Avenue, site of the former Camco appliance complex that closed in 2004.
McMaster, which bought the 37-acre property in 2005, has been busy on the east side of Longwood, renovating the former administrative headquarters into a multi- tenant complex now known as the Atrium and building a new federal materials research lab on the former factory site next door. The $65-million lab is set to open in October.
Next year, McMaster’s medical school is planning to build a $40-million primary care centre, also on the east side of Longwood, at Aberdeen.
McMaster is also trying to reach a deal with a hotel developer to build a long-stay facility immediately north of the Atrium building.
Farquhar said the parcel about to come under examination — the warehouse and parking lots on the west side of the road overlooking Highway 403 — is important to the larger, integrated plan for the park.
The building, familiar in its interim uses as steel-storage and trade-show space, is slated for an interior and exterior makeover, with about 50,000 square feet going toward a new automotive resource centre planned for opening in 2011.
In May, McMaster announced it had recruited an international star in hybrid engine research, Ali Emadi, to lead a new lab to anchor the centre.
The park’s mission is for partners in education, government and private business to turn research into commercial products and services.
The property in question:
Roughly half the 37-acre McMaster Innovation Park, on the west side of Longwood Road South, between Hwy. 403 and Aberdeen Avenue.
Former use: appliance warehouse, shipping depot and employee parking lot.
Interim use: private-industry steel storage, trade shows and parking.
McMaster’s current plans: Renovate one third of the 150,000 square-foot building to accommodate a $30-million automotive resource centre that would open in 2011. McMaster is waiting to hear back on grant requests for renovation funding.