The spirit of radio is one of Toronto rock band Rush’s best-known songs, and it will also infuse a new condominium development in Hamilton starting in Canlight Realty Company.
Radio Arts will be a 14-story condo at 206 King Street West, corner of Caroline Street, which will be close to two stops on the planned light rail transit line in Hamilton.
Canlight Realty founder and president Vernon Shaw has had an interest in the building for years. It was built in 1908, housed the CHIQ radio station in the middle of the last century, and was later used as a warehouse for a wholesale business that provided hotel supplies and equipment.
“It wasn’t the most desirable location in Hamilton, but it was a very convenient location,” Shaw said of the downtown site.
It is desirable now.
Development and design of Radio Arts
Shaw was introduced to the family that owned the building half a decade ago and stayed in touch until he was able to acquire it for an undisclosed price in an off-market deal.
“I told them that we would do all the groundwork and that we would understand that if we managed to get a certain number of development approvals, we would close the deal and they would be better off than if we had to buy it. (at the time),” Shaw said.
While the building is in disrepair and will be demolished, Radio Arts’ four-story podium will pay homage to its original design in its stonework details and arched windows.
Part of a mosaic floor, black and white photos, original beams, metal barn style doors and some vintage plumbing fixtures will be salvaged and incorporated into the new building.
The condo units will have names associated with the radio and its elevator lights will resemble studio lights in keeping with the Radio Arts theme.
Burlington Architecture Agency KNYMH Inc. and Hamilton-based Erika McCarthy and her team at Baud interior design will help Canlight bring the vision to life, while Norstar and its co-founder Gary Silver will oversee construction.
Zoning approval in place
Zoning approvals are in place. Shaw hopes to get site plan approval by the end of the summer so construction can begin to meet the target completion date of fall 2024.
When completed, Radio Arts will have 122 units averaging nearly 600 square feet. The plan calls for a mix of studio, one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus den, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom configurations. There will be retail space on the ground floor which will likely include a cafe.
Amenities will include: digital concierge services; a fitness studio on the second floor; a fifth-floor coworking space, Wi-Fi lounge and terrace; and a social lounge on the 14th floor leading to a roof terrace.
Radio Arts will be the first development in Hamilton to feature high-pile parking, offering 36 spaces in 12 stackers that can accommodate three cars each, as well as ample bicycle storage.
Sales will begin soon and pricing will be announced at that time.
Milborne Group, the largest pre-construction condo sales and consulting agency in Canada, will market Radio Arts. Founder and CEO, Hunter Milborne, is a Hamilton native and a longtime acquaintance of Shaw.
Benefits of Downtown Hamilton
Radio Arts will be close to independent shops and boutiques, restaurants, bars and the FirstOntario Center entertainment venue and arena that will undergo a major renovation.
The Pier 8 development will revitalize the nearby waterfront with approximately 1,500 residential units and 140,000 square feet of commercial and institutional space.
Young families and artists have left Toronto’s trendy but gentrifying neighborhoods like West Queen West to move further west to Hamilton for affordability reasons.
“My theory is that you always have to look at where artists are going because they’re always looking for not only cheap, but interesting places to live,” Shaw said.
“A few years ago you could buy a house like Cabbagetown (in Toronto) for literally a third of the price (in Hamilton). This is no longer true, but there is still a considerable gap.
“And there is a community there. As a developer, you pick up those vibes and follow them.
The Canlight Group
Canlight Realty, based in Mississauga, is the development division of The Canlight Group of Companieswhich Shaw also co-founded in 1991.
The Canlight Group is an integrated real estate services company with experience in the acquisition, development, construction and management of residential and commercial properties.
The Canlight Group has 4.5 million square feet of assets under management in 70 properties with a market value of $2 billion. It employs more than 30 people and is responsible for more than 50 people on the site.
Canlight began as a small investment company that purchased residential real estate using funds from various investors.
He purchased about 25 residential apartments with about 2,000 units that were not in great condition, but were remodeled and converted into condos and sold over a period of several years.
Canlight was part of publicly traded Dundee Realty early in that company’s history, before it was spun off and reverted to private ownership.
Canlight acquired Hamilton’s historic Pigott Building at 36 James St. S. in 1998. It converted the former 18-story office building into a condominium.
“Selling units to Hamilton in those days wasn’t easy,” Shaw said. “It was a tough sell, but we did really, really well and sold a lot faster than we expected.
“It’s a great business card to say that you worked on the Pigott Building, because everyone knows the Pigott Building. It’s been very good for us.
The company’s past projects include: The Derby Lofts, Camden Lofts and Ancroft Place in Toronto; Huron Park Heights in Mississauga; Grandview Condominiums in Newmarket; The Regency in Kitchener; and developments in Abbotsford, British Columbia and Phoenix.
“Canlight is a boutique developer and we’ve often found projects that other people overlook,” Don Kason, president and CEO of The Canlight Group, told RENX.
“We look for interesting or somewhat complex things. We are very selective. We want something that is not just a building. If we see a vision, that’s what we’re looking for.
“We don’t have a defined strategy. We have three or four projects in progress and when we run out of projects, we start looking again. »
Canlight Development Pipeline
Canlight has three other development sites in its pipeline.
“We want to get it right and not go too fast,” Kason said. “We are not in growth for growth’s sake. We want to do interesting things, enjoy what we do and give people a nice living space afterwards. That’s what drives us.
Canlight completes approximately two-acre assembly near Hamilton’s West Harbor GO Transit station.
“The city is very supportive because they would like to see more density there,” Kason said.
Canlight owns a waterfront access site in Burlington currently occupied by an income-producing residential property. The company is in no rush to do so, but Kason said the city’s previous administration favored an 18-story residential building.
A larger neighboring property will be redeveloped and Canlight wants to piggyback on this project to make the area more attractive.
Canlight owns a 4.5-acre site in Kitchener adjacent to a three-acre parcel of land owned by another developer. The Canlight property is occupied by a profitable commercial plaza, but Kason said it could be reconfigured for higher and better use.
The combined 7.5 acre site could accommodate 1,000 residential units which could be built over the next five to 10 years.
“They’re all making money while they’re sitting around, so none of them have the pressure that we have to do something,” Kason said of the three venues. “We will do them as we see the market is good and we want to harvest.
“And now is the time. The pandemic has spiked prices in Burlington, Hamilton and Kitchener to the point that it’s time to harvest. »