Developers' render of the proposed redevelopment of the Delta Secondary School site at 1284 Main Street East. Credit: HANDOUT

This afternoon, Hamilton’s Design Review Panel discussed the latest design concept for the former Delta Secondary School site at 1284 Main Street East.

Overall, the Design Review Panel supported the project’s concept, goals, and design elements.

They expressed many reservations regarding the site’s layout, especially the shadowing of the central amenity due to how close the proposed towers will be.

“I think the proposal is really strong as it looks at the context and how this proposal fits in with the surrounding area,” stated DRP member Dayna Edwards, who is a registered professional planner.

DRP expressed concerns regarding apartment building design, the separation distance between the buildings, and amenities for residents and the surrounding community.

Proposed Site Layout for the Delta Secondary School property redevelopment. (January 2023, Design Review Panel Presentation)

“My concern is with the distance and separation distance between Towers A and B,” Edwards stated.  “12.5 meters is about half of what is typical for tower separation.”

She suggests the developer “go taller with more slender floorplates” to achieve better design and separation.

DRP Member Jennifer Mallard, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects and a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, shared this concern.

“At 44 meters high, they are tall buildings and the separation is half of what we would typically want to see with a tall building,” Mallard stated. “It’s a privacy issue. I think it’s a livability issue. And from that, you’re reducing, sunlight in the main courtyard.”

Members also noted the lack of proposed amenities and public space.

“When we’re looking at projects of this kind of scale, in terms of the scope of increase of 900 plus residential units, we’re looking also for some kind of amenity that we get back to the city, whether it be retail, or some other kind of components at the street level that add life to the city,” stated DRP Chair David Clusiau.

Clusiau recommends retaining the Delta Secondary School auditorium as a potential community contribution.

Design Review Panel submission showing the three proposed towers at the Delta Secondary School site.

There was a discussion between the developer’s agent and the DPR regarding tower separation.

The agent noted that Hamilton’s Tall Building Guidelines apply to towers taller than 44 metres.

Clusiau responded, “you have gone to the very top of the area where you would. If you went another millimetre over, then yes, you would immediately suddenly have to double your width.”

“I think we’re just saying you’re really pushing it a bit too tight there.”

“That’s more than just that one thing,” he continued. “It’s just the density of having those three things so tight to each other. And you can just see in your own shadow diagrams, what you’ve got in your main park, your center of your complex; it gets almost no sun.”

Asked if the residential apartments will be rental or condo, the developer’s planner Sarah Knoll stated, “it’s leaning towards condo,” but the developer has not made the official determination.

The presentation materials are now on the City website.

Production Details
v. 1.0.2
Published: January 13, 2023
Last edited: January 13, 2023
Author: Joey Coleman
Edit Record
v. 1.0.0 original version
v. 1.0.1 change headline to "Delta Secondary Redevelopment" from "Delta Secondary Plan". "Secondary Plan" is an official planning term. Change to avoid confusion.
v. 1.0.2 added links to presentation materials on the City website.

3 replies on “DRP Supportive Overall, With Reservations, of Delta Secondary Redevelopment”

  1. Is this within the current zoning restrictions for height in the area or has the developer applied for rezoning?

    1. Greetings. Firstly, thank you for the first time comment.

      The lands must be rezoned from institutional to one of the Transit Oriented Corridor (TOC) zoning classifications.

      Main Street East’s LRT corridor is zoned “Transit Oriented Corridor Mixed Use Medium Density,” “TOC1” for short.

      The maximum permitted height of TOC1 is 22 metres, which is equal to six stories.

      The Indwell Rudy Hulst Commons at 1430 Main Street East is zoned TOC1.

      The Delta site is larger than any other property in this area. The proposal shown to the Design Review Panel is designed with angular plans for shadowing, and other design/layout methods to establish the increased height as “good planning.”

      Therefore, New Horizon will be able to make a strong case for its proposal in line the Ontario’s Planning Act and associated policies and regulations.

      It will go to Council for approval, with a statutory public meeting.

      I hope this helps, happy to answer any follow-up questions you may have, to the best of my ability.

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