1 Jarvis an Emblem of the new Hamilton

by Neil Sharma on 19 Feb 2021

A city can receive no greater vote of confidence than an infusion of government money, and with over half a billion dollars earmarked for its downtown, Hamilton is on the cusp of blossoming into a brand new city.

“As we know, $500 million is a lot of money for any downtown, especially one like Hamilton’s that doesn’t have a large footprint,” said Kash Pashootan CEO of Emblem Developments, which is building 1 Jarvis in the city’s core. “Additionally, the government is investing $140 million into redoing Hamilton’s harbour and waterfront, which is in close proximity to 1 Jarvis. When you juxtapose Hamilton with all other submarkets, it’s the only one that’s receiving government money in excess of $600 million.”

To be sure, downtown Hamilton’s renaissance began a few years ago when the city began actively poaching disillusioned millennials from Toronto with the promise of homeownership. That young, creative class instantly injected new life into downtown Hamilton, particularly around James St., and with more than half a billion dollars of government money, it promises to give Toronto’s bustling downtown a run for its money.

Tentative occupancy for 1 Jarvis, which is readying to launch, will coincide with the manifestation of the “new” downtown Hamilton, which Pashootan likens to moving to a brand new city.

“Hamilton is being built from the ground up—it’s a facelift as opposed to changing one building at a time,” he said. “You’re going to see a real change from what Hamilton is today and what it will be three to five years from now, and it will surprise most people because when we think about a community being revitalized, it’s usually through a few buildings. However, when you add government investment to the equation, it becomes a game changer. Today, there’s already a nice hub of restaurants and entertainment, so there’s a lot to build on that already exists here.”

Hamilton has already caught the attention of Toronto’s cultural class, with restaurateurs eyeing downtown Hamilton, waiting for the right moment to jump into the fray.

But unlike Toronto, Hamilton will have vivacious city life without the exorbitant cost of living there. Priced per square foot, 1 Jarvis comes in around half of downtown Toronto, although Pashootan says it’s still about more than a mere value play.

“It’s about the building quality you’re getting with 1 Jarvis. It would hold its own and compete with what you find in downtown Toronto, from the interior to the exterior and the amenity package. Historically, condominiums built in suburban markets are less exciting and more cost effective, and the interiors and exteriors don’t look and feel like they do in downtown Toronto, but 1 Jarvis will, and that’s what’s special about this project—not only is it affordable, but you’re getting the same quality and finishes you’d get in any metropolitan location.”

As a rental income property, 1 Jarvis will build upon a nascent trend in which the 905 outsold the 416—not surprising considering the spread between the former and latter grew too wide. Looking at the rent-to-buy ratio, says Pashootan, 1 Jarvis checks a lot of boxes investors look for.

According to Ryan Coyle, co-founder of Connect.ca Realty, Hamilton is on the same trajectory as downtown Toronto when its condo boom began. In addition to superlative market fundamentals—which include a burgeoning health and sciences industry, trendy new restaurants opened by Toronto restaurateurs, new transit and a waterfront that will become a regional gem—Coyle says the future is bright for downtown Hamilton.

“We’ve personally invested in the Hamilton real estate market over the last year or so, and we’re very bullish on Hamilton condos,” he said. “It’s like a young Toronto with those fundamentals, but it has a lot of development in the pipeline and you’re just starting to see new modern, luxurious and amenity-driven condos pop up in Hamilton that are more like Toronto buildings. Anybody who bought in early in the downtown Toronto condo boom did really well, and we’re expecting similar returns and appreciation in Hamilton.”

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