Forty-storey building eyed for Rebecca Street
A new 40-storey tower with a “unique” design is being proposed for Rebecca Street.
The plan for the four-storey podium building at 71 Rebecca St. — bound by John and Catharine streets — includes 371 residential units, 350 parking spots on two underground and three aboveground levels, a rooftop deck and 13,000 square feet of commercial space.
Part of what makes the design of this site unique is the city’s plan to build a park in front of it, said architect David Premi of DPAI Architecture, who is working on the project alongside colleague Petra Matar.
“We knew that this site was special,” Premi said, noting they have been working on the design for the past year. “It had a lot of special status in the context of the urban core because it’s going to be providing an edge to this very important public space.”
Plans for the park date back to 2010 but money to begin design work won’t
be in the budget before 2018.
Because it will provide a backdrop to the park, the building will serve as a “very important visual presence”, said Matar.
This prompted the architects to consider creating something “very sculptural” in their design, she said. It is too early to put a price tag on the project, which is being developed by Sonoma Development Group, but Premi called it “expensive.”
A summary from the July 13 design review committee at which the proposal was discussed calls the building “bold and interesting” but notes it will set a precedent for the area.
It calls the 40-storey height “excessive” and describes the tower as “too ‘chunky’.”
“In general, the massing and scale of the building needs to be refined,” it says.
The number of storeys is the same as one of the twin condo towers being proposed for CHCH-TV site by Toronto condo developer Brad Lamb.
From Premi’s perspective, height should be evaluated based on the impact it has on the surrounding area and the shadows it creates.
For this project, he said they have conducted extensive shadow impact studies and they exceed the criteria set out by other municipalities. He said Hamilton doesn’t have firm standards in place.
“People get fixated on numbers,” he said. “I don’t feel personally that it’s too tall.
“It’s within the sort of cluster of highrises in the core.”
As for the tower, Premi said its appearance will help create interesting views downtown from several different vantage points, including the Skyway Bridge and York Boulevard.
“It really creates some interesting vistas and makes some new connections around the core of the city,” he said.
Anita Fabac, city manager of development planning, heritage and design, said in an email that staff is still reviewing the application.
“At this point in time, we do not have a position on the proposal.”
Artist rendering of building.