Hamilton politicians approve agreement to redevelop downtown entertainment venues

A private consortium is one vote away from getting final approval to redevelop Hamilton's downtown entertainment properties.

A private consortium is one vote away from getting final approval to redevelop a series of downtown entertainment venues.

Hamilton’s general issues committee, after getting a confidential update on Wednesday, voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group.

The details of the agreement will be released after city council gives formal approval during a meeting next Wednesday.

Read more: Winning bidder selected for modernization of Hamilton’s downtown entertainment venues

HUPEG is a consortium of local investors that includes Carmen’s Group, the LIUNA Pension Fund, Fengate Capital, Meridian Credit Union, Jetport Inc. and Paletta International.

The consortium was selected in July 2020 as the preferred redeveloper of FirstOntario Centre, the Hamilton Convention Centre and FirstOntario Concert Hall.

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At that time, the group was pitching a plan that called for total investments of more than $400 million within the city core.

That was to include a $50-million restoration of FirstOntario Centre, as well as upgrades to the concert hall, convention centre and Art Gallery of Hamilton.

A mixed-use development was also mentioned as part of the HUPEG’s proposal, including
new residential units, affordable housing, retail and office space.

Read more: Councillors hear pitches for multimillion-dollar entertainment facilities in downtown Hamilton

In addition to taking on all capital costs for the renewal of Hamilton’s downtown entertainment facilities, the Precinct Group would take over responsibility for the operations and maintenance.

A 2019 study by Ernst and Young estimated that privatizing the operation and maintenance of the entertainment venues would save Hamilton taxpayers $155 million over the next 30 years.


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