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City of Hamilton to buy out Hamilton Waterfront Trust lease agreement to free up waterfront lands

HAMILTON, ON - In keeping with its commitment to transforming Hamilton’s waterfront lands into a vibrant, urban waterfront neighbourhood, Hamilton City Council has decided to buy out its current leasehold agreement with Hamilton Waterfront Trust (HWT) in order to gain direct control of the lands at 57 Discovery Drive.

The City currently holds the title to the lands and leases the property to HWT, which manages and oversees the property on behalf of the City.

Buying out the lease and entering into a Lease Termination and Surrender Agreement allows the City to gain direct control of the lands and access the benefits that would come from future unencumbered development of the lands as well as future increased property assessment values and taxes.

The current lease agreement is a pre-existing one from 2010 (expiring in 2054) when Parks Canada granted a lease to the HWT for the Discovery Centre and surrounding lands. HWT managed the Discovery Centre on behalf of Parks Canada. In 2015, Parks Canada transferred the Discovery Centre property to the City of Hamilton subject to the 2010 lease with HWT. The HWT continued to manage the Discovery Centre, but now on behalf of the City.

The buyout of the lease will cost a total of $3M, paid out annually over 15 years. Fair market value of the lease was established through an independent appraisal.

City staff are investigating the feasibility of incorporating the lands into the Pier 8 development Request For Proposal (RFP) and will report back to Council with a recommendation on how to best maximize the disposition value of the lands, ensure the value of the Pier 8 development RFP is maintained, and support the vision of Setting Sail (the land use plan for Hamilton’s West Harbour) and the successful RFP development proponent partner.

The City of Hamilton has partnered with the HWT and other partners to provide residents and visitors with services and programming, enjoyed year-round, that animate and enhance the West Harbour. Established in 2000 as a separate legal entity from the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Waterfront Trust (HWT) has a mandate to connect people to the water’s edge.