For many years Hamilton residents, private consultants and city officials have been privately and publicly considering the possibilities for U.S. Steel’s land. The company currently occupies 328 hectares of waterfront land in Hamilton’s bay area.
There has been a concession that the city must have influence on how this land is redeveloped and revitalized and that an overarching plan must be put in place to guide development. In response, the city hired Deloitte to construct a Phase 1 waterfront market opportunity strategy.
The study released last week, recommends that the city purchase strategic pieces of the land in order to reuse those plots as for industrial purposes.
U.S. Steel lands overview
The U.S. Steel property consists of 328 hectares of waterfront land. The land, which has undertaken over a century of heavy machining, has unknown/unreleased contamination levels. The area is currently zoned industrial, making the property a rare piece of waterfront industrial zoned land on a Great Lake.
In 2013, the entire U.S. Steel property was appraised at $166 million, some parts of the land have since been sold to the Hamilton Port Authority. It is unknown how much of the U.S. Steel land is for sale.
U.S. Steel is currently undergoing a comprehensive restructuring solution while under creditor protection. Portions of their land are no longer in use, which is why the company is looking to sell their surplus plots.
Hamilton market opportunity study recommendation
The market opportunities study looked at Hamilton’s industrial waterfront as whole, with a focus on the opportunities for U.S. Steel land.
The study recommends that the city purchase key properties along the waterfront to retain some control over future uses. It identifies the opportunity to re-use the lands for industrial purposes, as they currently contain the necessary infrastructure, and the use would lead to the least disruption of the soil. Hamilton could then look at attracting greener manufacturing industries to the waterfront industrial plots.
There are currently no city funds set aside for land purchases. Phase 2 of the study will include an environmental study, public consultation and land use opportunities.
Cities who have transformed their former steel properties
Hamilton can look to a number of cities for redevelopment inspiration. Most notably Pittsburgh has turned former steel lands into shopping malls and a stadium and Bethlehem, PA’s former steel sites now operate a casino and art centre.
Ottawa’s Domtar industrial lands are also currently undergoing a redevelopment that will see mixed-uses including residential, commercial and retail on the 37-acre site.