Situated in an area downtown that is yearning for growth, the Cannon Knitting Mills has the potential to transform an entire neighbourhood in Hamilton, if not the city itself, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) says in a news release.
“Time and again, the re-invention of large heritage buildings into active hubs of commerce and culture has proven to be successful in stimulating local economies and fast-tracking renewal. And yet, the Cannon Knitting Mills sits empty, with no clear path emerging which would see an economically viable solution.”
“The Cannon Knitting Mills is a fantastic opportunity for the city,” says Glen Norton, Hamilton’s manager of urban renewal. “Inviting the ULI’s membership into the space will hopefully spark their imagination, and get people thinking towards a viable future.”
The group says its members and some Hamilton and Toronto-area VIPs inside the boiler room of the vacant 110,000 s.f. Cannon Knitting Mills, as its current owner, Hamilton Realty Capital Corporation teams up with the ULI to stage a one-of-a-kind exploration on June 17.
“Designed to stimulate conversation and momentum around the historic building, The Cannon Knitting Mills Exploration has recruited a collection of speakers from a cross section of sectors to provoke dialogue,” the ULI announcement says. The speakers, which include Rob Spanier, president and artner of Live, Work, Learn, and Robin Kay, president of the FDCC and founder of Toronto Fashion Week, will participate in a deconstructed panel. One-by-one speakers will emerge from the crowd to address the room with a brief interpolation on the state of the Cannon Knitting Mills and the possibilities for its future.
“Hamilton has become one of the most exciting stories in the GTHA and the Cannon Knitting Mills symbolizes this city’s amazing revitalization narrative,” says ULI Toronto executive director Richard Joy. “When Glen toured me through this space, I was taken aback by its potential. As a body that is focused on the health and future of our cities, we wanted to conceive of a way to get our membership into this building and get them thinking of its future.”
Other speakers include: dpai architecture and interiors founder David Premi, Supercrawl founder Tim Potocic, and architect and dean of The Willowbank School of Restoration, Julian Smith. The event will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Before the exploration, the ULI’s membership will embark on a tour of downtown Hamilton to take in the city’s urban renewal first hand. Stops include the Royal Connaught and Empire Times Building, as well as the Hamilton Waterfront, which will embark on an aggressive plan for re-development.
“Our members are excited by what is happening in Hamilton and we wanted to give them a sense of all the change that has transpired first hand,” says Joy.
Tickets to the Cannon Knitting Mills Exploration are available to the public, but space is limited. For more information visit: http://toronto.uli.org/event/cannon-knitting-mills-exploration/