New renderings and plan released for large waterfront industrial hub and public trail system

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Photo Credit: Slate Asset Management

New renderings and site plan details were released for a new project called Steelport, which will see a large waterfront industrial hub and public trail system built on former Stelco lands.

While the official master plan still needs to be submitted to the city, the group spearheading the project, Slate Asset Management, has already detailed much of their vision.

The renderings are part of Slate’s 36-page formal consultation package.

In addition to Slate, the project team includes Gensler Architecture and Design, Stantec Engineering Services Company, MHBC Planning, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, Public Work Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, Pinchin Ltd. Environmental Engineering, and Baldassarra Architects Inc.

The group hopes to start the first phase of the massive project some time in 2024, with the project taking at least a decade to complete.

The property is located in the industrial area of the City of Hamilton at 386 Wilcox Street. The location is north of Burlington Street East, near the northernmost end of Gage Avenue North.

Slate bought the land from Stelco in June 2022 for $518 million with the intention of creating a business park and industrial hub. It should be noted that Stelco still leases a portion of the land for their operations.

The formal consultation package says that Slate’s vision “proposes an extensive public realm including an expansive trail network that ties together a stormwater lagoon park, waterfront promenade, and a proposed park amenity” made out of the old Stelco coke battery structures.

“Cultural elements and retail amenities are planned around a four kilometre loop through the heart of the site that will allow Hamiltonians to experience an expansive portion of the city that has been cut off from public use for over a century,” the document continues.

Slate notes that the City of Hamilton is transitioning from “its history as a centre for heavy industry to a modern and diversified economy.”

The plan includes the construction of new municipal roads and public space and opportunities for manufacturing, logistics, and distribution industry companies to establish themselves on the Waterfront.

The site offers port access to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, on-site freight 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).

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.

The plans indicate that Wilcox Street will be extended north and become the “Creative Industry Gateway,” Gage Avenue North will be extended and be the “Civic Spine,” and the area around Depew Street will be designated the “Ecological Corridor.”

The plan is to create four district clusters: The Battery, The Pipe Gallery, The Lagoonscape, and The Waterfront.

The Battery would involve the preservation of a cluster of Stelco’s Coke Battery structures to create a unique “hybrid park” similar to Emscher Park in Germany.

The Pipe Gallery involves a “human-scaled linear park that brings together a collection of smaller-scales of industry in the form of an industrial ‘Main Street.’”

The Lagoonscape is set to feature an “ecological corridor” which will be park-like and connect to the Waterfront. The document appears to indicate the possibility for recreational activities such as kayaking.

The Waterfront would be split further into another four clusters: Bay Green, Barge Cluster, Waterfront Hub and Park, and the Campus Cluster.

Noted on the site map is the potential for space for creative media industries, a gallery, conventions and exhibitions, heritage, an urban farm, a winery, retail, food and beverage, a brewery, Indigenous partners, ecological partners, education, recreation, research, and innovation.

The final scale of the project, as well as the eventual timeline, remain to be seen.

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