Ground has broken on the latest project in downtown Hamilton, a mixed-use development at 75 James St. S. which will tower more than 30 storeys and include over 500 residential units.
The Labourers’ International Union of North America’s LiUNA Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada (LPFCEC) holds 100 per cent interest in the development. Fengate Asset Management is the investment manager, developer and asset manager, while The Hi-Rise Group is the development manager and SG Constructors is the builder.
The Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan states buildings shall not exceed the height of the Niagara Escarpment, which works out to about 30 storeys, but the partners applied for and received permission from the city to exceed the height restriction with the James Street building.
“Working collaboratively with city staff and local stakeholders, the building height was determined with consideration for relevant planning policies, precedent projects and addressing local housing needs,” Fengate managing director and group head of real estate Jaime McKenna said in an email exchange with RENX.
An application filed with the city called for a tower of up to 34 storeys.
Plans for the James St. S. property
The James Street site was formerly a bank and was acquired for an undisclosed price in 2018. It was assembled in 2020 with another site at 44 Hughson St. S. – which is the current home of the LiUNA Local 837 and LiUNA Central and Eastern Canada regional offices.
It’s still to be determined if the residential component of the development will be a purpose-built rental apartment or condominium. It will include office and commercial space and a heritage component.
“Due diligence is underway to determine the best model to meet residential needs in downtown Hamilton,” McKenna wrote.
The development will help address significantly increased residential needs in Hamilton from people of all ages and occupations, including students, millennials priced out of the Toronto market and retirees.
The residential units will range in size from studios to three bedrooms. Building amenities will include fitness facilities, party rooms, relaxation lounges, private rooftop green space and underground parking.
LiUNA and the development
“LiUNA is incredibly proud to be addressing the increasingly critical residential needs in Hamilton,” Joseph Mancinelli, LPFCEC chair, LiUNA International vice-president and regional manager for Central and Eastern Canada, said in an email interview with RENX.
“I myself, a Hamiltonian, have a personal passion for the future of our city, addressing current infrastructure needs that will continue to foster economic development, job opportunities and growth.”
Mancinelli said the location is transit-oriented and pedestrian-friendly, offering easy access to necessities, work, school and entertainment.
“Our LiUNA HQ of the Central and Eastern Region as well as the LiUNA Local 837 office at 44 Hughson will be seamlessly integrated into the development and expanded with new office space, keeping the artistic and historic façade of the front of the building, honouring the foundation and history of those before us,” said Mancinelli.
“Further, a number of live/work units will be provided, catering to local small business needs.”
A 2025 completion is being targeted for the development.
The development partners
LiUNA has half-a-million members across North America, including more than 140,000 in Canada, who predominantly work in construction.
The LPFCEC was established in 1972 and is one of the fastest growing multi-employer pension funds across Canada. Its diverse investment portfolio has more than $10 billion in assets.
Fengate Asset Management is an alternative investment manager focused on infrastructure, private equity and real estate strategies. It has a total asset value of more than $20 billion and offices in Toronto, Oakville and Houston.
Fengate Real Estate is involved with more than 75 properties and investments. The completed value of its portfolio is more than $9 billion and it has more than $4 billion in value under development.
The Hi-Rise Group is a fully integrated development and construction company that was founded in 1979. It initially functioned as a merchant builder that sold most of the projects it developed and built, but it now holds a number of properties across Ontario.
SG Constructors was founded by Matt Stainton and its management team has accumulated more than a century of experience working on construction projects.
The two-tower King William Residence in Hamilton and the revitalization of Yonge Eglinton Centre, Yonge Sheppard Centre, 66 Wellington St. W., 111 Richmond Street West and 180 Wellington in Toronto are among its projects.