The entrance to the Pasadena may be one of few exterior clues as to the interior restoration that will transform the heritage-designated apartment building into upscale condominiums with modern amenities. In the property’s adaptive reuse, the front doors, which were updated to aluminum frames around the mid-century, will be returned to their original wood and glass.
Built in 1914, the historic property will retain its façade of balconies, bay windows, bracketed eaves, galvanized-iron cornice and stone-and-brick pattern work. These attributes make it one of the earliest examples of the apartment house that came to be common in Hamilton during the Roaring Twenties, and are among the reasons cited for its heritage designation.
Local entrepreneur Paven Bratch purchased the Pasadena with plans to reposition the apartment building after it suffered a fire the year of its 100th birthday. The blaze, which began in its large pre-World War Two boiler, ravaged its interiors but spared its ‘good bones,’ such as the brick walls.
“We’ve got a fabulous building structure to work with, it has a lot of history in Hamilton and was renowned for its architectural beauty, and we’re really excited about bringing it back to its former grandeur,” he said. “And it’s located in one of the nicest neighbourhoods in the city.”
For the uninitiated, Bratch likened the Durand neighbourhood of churches, ivy-covered stone walls and tree-lined streets to Toronto’s Forest Hill. The project is well underway, with the fire damage removed, the basement excavated, the floors restored and the roof replaced. Framing is occurring now, as the necessary building and heritage permits are in place.
The City of Hamilton was extremely supportive of the project, said the developer — so much so that he was able to secure a five-year tax rebate that he will pass through to purchasers via lower condominium fees. The adaptive reuse of the historic apartment building fits in with the municipality’s broader efforts over the last few years to promote heritage preservation.
“It’s quite surprising to a lot of people who come into Hamilton, who have otherwise only seen it from the Skyway Bridge, and they’ve seen the smokestacks, and they’ve seen the bay, but they haven’t seen the character of the city,” observed project architect Rick Lintack. “Pasadena is indicative of the trend in Hamilton towards renovation and renewal.”
In addition to the restoration of the apartment building’s original front doors, he said the city’s heritage staff was especially concerned with seeing the entrance corridor’s red oak spiral staircase and skylight preserved. The exterior must also be maintained, so the windows dictated how the spaces would be configured. Privacy screens will divide the long balconies and demarcate the demising walls, which will carve the existing 17 suites into 32 suites.
Layouts will consist of a mix of one and two bedrooms with dens spanning in size from 544 to 791 square feet. Suites will feature exposed brick, nine-foot ceilings and original fireplaces as well as quartz kitchen countertops, porcelain-tiled bathrooms and polished herringbone wood floors.
An elevator will open out onto the three-storey building’s new rooftop terrace, echoing the original luxury of what is believed to be one of Hamilton’s first apartments. In the property’s heyday, dumbwaiters delivered meals to individual suites from a central kitchen in the basement.
The new rooftop terrace will house a lounge, dining area and outdoor gourmet culinary centre with views of the neighbourhood, including to the art-deco Hunter GO station. Proximity to this transit stop, which is on an express bus route to Union station, is expected to appeal to 30-something professionals who could commute to work in Toronto.
Indeed, the project comes at a time when Hamilton’s housing market is heating up, thanks to its closeness to the GTA and comparative affordability.
The recent launch of the Pasadena marks Bratch’s first foray into residential real estate with his new development firm Metro Partners. The entrepreneur’s local credits also include Radius, a farm-to-table restaurant located within the same Yorkville-esque entertainment district.
Suite prices at the 27 Bold St. property start in the low $300,000s; occupancy is slated for early 2017.
Michelle Ervin is the editor of CondoBusiness.