The Hamilton Grand now "rising" to five stories?

[![]( "Hamilton_Grand_Image_Dec_2011")]( Hamilton Grand project as of December 2011 /
Harry Stinson’s on-again, off-again, [Hamilton Grand project]( is on-again.

This according to the project’s website which was recently updated to show a five-storey building in place of the 15-storey tower Mr. Stinson once dreamed of building.

Suites in the “new” Hamilton Grand will go on sale to the public on January 15, 2012.

Stinson emailed his mailing lists offering a private sale starting at $59,900 for offices, and $89,900 for suites.

The now-five storey building will house retail/commercial at street level, offices on the second floor, and apartments/hotels suites on the upper three floors.

The concept image (above) clearly shows the colonnaded walkway along Main Street to fulfil the City’s wish for a setback to allow for future expansion of the Main Street highway from five-lanes one-way to six lanes.

The latest unveiling may be met with a dose of healthy scepticism – this isn’t the first unveiling for the Hamilton Grand.

It all started three years ago….

The project was first mentioned on popular Hamilton planning and development forum SkyscraperPage: Local Hamilton back in December of 2008.

The official public unveiling of the then six-storey Hamilton Grand project on January 4, 2009, came ten months after Mr. Stinson publicly proposed a 100-storey Connaught Tower to sprout beside the then-and-now vacant Royal Connaught building downtown.

Among the names involved with the Hamilton Grand project at the time were former Hamilton Mayor Larry Di Ianni and business person Gary Bateman. Mr. Bateman was the main accountant for the project and his death in April of 2009 would be a major setback for the project.

[![]( "hamilton_grand_new_rendering_12_storeys_Feb_09")]( Hamilton Grand plan in February 2009 /
The building was to raise between the London Tap House and Royal Connaught along John Street South were the buildings that most recently housed the Crazy Horse Saloon and Liaison College (which is now in Jackson Square’s former second level food court) sit vacant.

In the January 30, 2009 print edition of *The Hamilton Spectator, *columnist Andrew Dreschel reported the building would now be 11-stories.  Mr. Dreschel prophetically ended the column asking: “Can Stinson land the Hamilton Grand or will he be written off as just another dream salesman?”

On February 10,  Mr. Stinson announced he sold 82 units and the building expanded to a 12-storey structure. The original six-storey plan offered 80-units for sale.

The next pleasant surprise came in April of 2009 when Mr. Stinson revealed a new site for The Hamilton Grand – the former Shell gas station at Main Street East and John Street South. A Toronto-based real estate investment group called “Private Investment Club” had purchased 100 of the 176 units and it appeared ground would be broken that summer.

The new site for the building allowed for expansion of floor sizes.

The first end of The Hamilton Grand

The summer of 2009 brought the first major setback for the project when the head of the “Private Investment Club”, Sunil Tulsiani, came under investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission and an Notice of Hearing issued on June 26, 2009.

[![]( "2009_John_Main_Hamilton_Grand")]( Hamilton Grand raises at John and Main. Concept from Spring 2009 /
The investigation triggered many investors to pull their money from the Hamilton Grand. By late August, Mr. Stinson [told](*The Hamilton Spectator *the Hamilton Grand project stalled and he planned to focus on the [Stinson School Lofts](

Mr. Stinson stated to *The Spectator *the death of Mr. Bateman was a major blow to the project.

“If Gary was still alive, we would have carried on,” Mr. Stinson said. “Gary was an enormous factor in the project. He gave investors comfort.”

The recession, then at its maximum depth, was cited as another reason the project stalled.

The Grand rises from the ashes and becomes 15-storeys

The Hamilton Grand returned to the reality market in March 2010 when Mr. Stinson’s reality company started selling units again at a starting price of $79,900.

The front page of the April 7, 2010 *Hamilton Spectator *relayed the news to the wider public. The article included news the building’s ceiling heights were lowered and it would now be a 15-storey structure.

Mr. Stinson now owned the site for the building. Sales were good for the units and soil sampling was underway by July 2010. It appeared the project would finally begin construction.

Paul Wilson, then of The Hamilton Spectator, wrote on August 18, 2010 of the beginning of construction: “This week shovels are scraping off the first couple of metres, down to the soft soil.” Mr. Stinson told Mr. Wilson: “We’ve sold, we’ve closed, we’re digging. This isn’t just something on a napkin.”

A completion date of summer 2012 was set for The Hamilton Grand.

Red-Tape sidelines project

November brought an unexpected reason for the delay of the project – the City requires a setback on the property to facilitate the possible future expansion of the five-lane one-way city highway Main Street.  It was another facepalm moment courtesy of City Hall.

The Grand downsizes to 10-storeys, stalls, and Stinson’s energies spread over the border

March 2011 brought news The Hamilton Grand was downsizing to 10-storeys and Mr. Stinson made an unsolicited purchase offer for 95 King St. E. – the former strip club. The city declined his below-market offer.

Mr. Stinson stated the setback issue at The Hamilton Grand was resolved and construction fencing would be up on the site the following week. The end of March saw the fencing up, but no construction occurred in 2011.

In August, Mr. Stinson told The Spectator his main financial backer put the project on hold after the Main Street widening issue.

Meanwhile, Mr. Stinson’s interests spread to the other side of the border – Niagara Falls, USA – with the purchase of the Grand Hotel Niagara.

Here’s Mr. Stinson promoting The Niagara Grand:

Will it happen?

There is little doubt about Harry Stinson’s persistence and determination.   He’s been close to achieving the necessary sales and financing for this project before. He owns the land and the building is now scaled back to its original height. The setback issue is “resolved” and construction of the Stinson School Lofts is underway.

There are reasons for optimism that The Grand will finally happen.

Only time will tell if it actually does.