City voting on expropriation of crime hotbed City Motor Hotel

City voting on expropriation of crime hotbed City Motor Hotel
[![]( "City_Motor")]( Motor Hotel
Hamilton City Council is holding a special meeting tomorrow afternoon to vote on expropriating the now-infamous City Motor Hotel.

The rundown landmark is a hotbed of criminal activity at the Queenston Traffic Circle. Council’s special meeting comes exactly a week – and nearly to the hour – of the latest incident at the City Motor. Police swooped in last Wednesday around noon to arrest Jason Fraser, 40, in the murder of Ron Crawford.

During the arrest of Fraser, police found three other people, including his girlfriend, in the unit. All four are charged with possession of cocaine.

The expropriation

A report by City staff recommends the expropriation of the property – which is listed for sale by two separate parties – due to land ownership complications. It is not actually clear who the title for the property belongs to.

From the report:

This property is listed for sale by two independent real estate brokerage firms at
different prices and representing different owners.

The title to these lands is clouded and it is unclear as to which party actually owns the property. Furthermore, the corporation that is the registered owner, has been dissolved, and there are several court orders registered against the title. There are also various liens registered on title in favour of both the federal and provincial governments, plus other writs, and notices.

The report states the City plans to redevelop the property and the budget line for purchase is “Ward 4 Capital Re-investment” which points to this being an initiative of ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla.

Merulla and the City Motor Hotel

Councillor Merulla waged a high profile campaign to change municipal bylaws to increase regulations on the City Motor Hotel following a series of high profile concerning crime incidents, especially a shot fired incident last fall.

Merulla successfully passed a new hotel/motel licensing bylaw last month. His legislation is city-wide, but motivated by incidents at the City Motor Hotel.

An interesting past… a promising future?

The City Motor Hotel is an iconic Hamilton site. Once a Holiday Inn, its history is a series of ups and downs. A popular and respected motel for the early years of its existence, the business appears to have suffered it’s decline into notoriety during the recession of the early 90s.

This Vancouver Sun article from 1986 describes the hotel as “”the fabulous City Motor Hotel (“each room and suite appointed with TV, radio, phone and private bath, heated”)”

1995, a man was evicted from the property after 100 pigeons were discovered living with him.
1996, The Spectator has a story of a cocaine dealers arrested at the hotel.
1997, the hotel went bankrupt.
1999, things were looking up for the hotel as it hosted 300 Kosovar refugees.
2003, new owners invest heavily in the hotel and it hosts attendees of the world road cycling championships.

From there, it’s been downhill. Today, it’s at rock bottom with ownership unclear.

Let’s hope our (City) ownership of the hotel results in something great for the city.

The meeting starts at 1 p.m. I’ll try to be in attendance.