Huge waterfront industrial hub, public trail system planned for former Stelco lands

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 A 2022 study estimated that ‘Steelport’ could create up to 23,000 new jobs and inject $3.8 billion into the Ontario economy over the next decade. Photo credit: Slate Asset Management 


A group called Slate Asset Management has released its initial plans for an 800-acre redevelopment of former Stelco lands into a massive waterfront industrial hub including a public park with a trail system.

The property, located in the industrial section of the city, is at 386 Wilcox Street, north of Burlington Street East and near the end of Gage Avenue North.

In addition to releasing the initial plans, which were revealed on May 16, Slate has announced that the new hub will be called “Steelport.”

Slate bought the land from Stelco in June 2022 for $518 million with the intention of creating a business park/industrial hub.

The group calls the redevelopment a “master-planned employment district”, “employment neighbourhood”, and “modern commercial district”, noting that it would include new municipal roads, public space, and opportunities for companies in the manufacturing, logistics, and distribution industries to establish themselves on the waterfront.

The property has M5 zoning, allowing for industrial uses and manufacturing.

The group hopes to entice tenants with the development’s ideal location which offers port access to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, on-site rail access and is close to the U.S. land border, major Ontario highways, and two major international airports in Hamilton’s J.C. Munro International Airport (YHM) and Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

The site is currently underutilised and is home to a number of old Stelco buildings, some of which have already begun being demolished.

As part of the redevelopment, steel collected from the demolition of the existing outdated buildings on the site will be reused. Slate also will be investing in environmental remediation.

Steelport will be developed in phases, with demolition, remediation, and road infrastructure construction all significant steps that need to be taken before completion.

Slate hopes that Steelport will be operational within the next decade or so, meaning Hamiltonians may have access to the newly developed area as early as 2033. 

As such, Slate hopes to begin construction phases sometime in 2024.

A 2022 study by Ernst and Young commissioned by Slate estimated that the project could create up to 23,000 new jobs and inject $3.8 billion into the Ontario economy over the next decade.

Although the primary focus of the site is employment, it’s the public park part of Slate’s plan that is also particularly significant.

The initial plans include a “public realm” as part of the design which will reportedly have an “expansive trail network that ties together a stormwater lagoon park, waterfront promenade and a potential battery park amenity.”

The plans also mention “cultural elements” and “retail amenities” along “a two-kilometre loop through the heart of the site.”

As an industrial zone, the lands have not been open to the public for over a century.

Slate also says that “a new road and infrastructure network would integrate public transportation into the site – from bus routes to bike share stations.”

Opening part of the land up to the public is part of their plan to give “enhanced access and opportunity back to people and the city.”

Blair Welch, founding partner at Slate, noted the significance of the redevelopment.

“From transforming the site into a modern and accessible space, to creating thousands of jobs and infusing billions into Canada’s economy, we believe the reach and impact of this project will be monumental,” Welch stated.

Slate expects to submit a formal development application to the City of Hamilton in the coming months.

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