Industrial building the next frontier in this hot market

A spotlight has been shining on Hamilton’s residential real estate market all year as investors look to capitalize on appreciating home prices – but one industrial property is signaling a new opportunity for investors.

Over the last few years, Ontario has seen successful turnarounds in revitalized industrial properties, such as Wychwood Barns in Toronto and the Tannery in Waterloo. However, the latest project, at Cannon Knitting Mills in Hamilton, could offer the most potential if enough capital is raised to turn it around.

“It’s an emerging area in the downtown that could really use this building as a mixed-use building for residential and commercial purposes,” said Dave Premi, an architect with the Cannon Knitting Mills project, adding that the building was purchased for $200,000 four years ago.

“It could be a good opportunity for investors if done right. It has to be done in phases, and the traditional rules of redevelopment won’t apply due to some risks, but it’s an important cultural asset that could pay off down the road.”

Stakeholders in Hamilton gathered last week to discuss just what could be done with the Cannon Knitting Mills, a historic industrial building that could be a boon to the local area if redesigned the right way.

Richard Joy, executive director of the Urban Land Institute, Premi, several investors, city officials and other large commercial players were on hand to hear about the opportunities for residential and commercial space in the three-storey building.

In an emerging area that's primed for growth, according to experts, the Cannon Knitting Mills has the power to be a major catalyst for downtown Hamilton, if not the entire city, said Glen Norton, manager of urban renewal at the City of Hamilton.

It’s also worth noting that the City of Hamilton offers a number of incentive programs, including interest-free loans, which investors can take advantage of.

“There’s a lack of retail in the area so I think that this building could provide that for the Beasley neighbourhood [in Hamilton],” said Norton. “There were really good ideas presented – a metal shop, a centre for fashion and design, a performance art center, so I think there’s a lot of potential there for the right investor(s) in a growing area.”

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