Real Estate

Downtown Entertainment Facilities

The Vrancor group has an offer of $200 million dollars to redevelop Copps Coliseum (I just can’t call it First Ontario Centre) plus other improvements

I find it sort of ridiculous that we have a $200 million and a $500 million dollar offer to revamp our aging Entertainment Facilities that will involve little or no public money and we are not singing it out at the rooftops. We can bitch and moan about the LRT fiascos over the years but we have two groups offering to invest hundreds of millions or even a half a billion to improve our downtown and no one is jumping up and down?

The Vrancor group has an offer of $200 million dollars to redevelop Copps Coliseum (I just can’t call it First Ontario Centre) plus improve the conventions centre as well as Hamilton Place which will also include building office towers to make a nice return on their investment. They are also looking to revamp their project on Queen street but that is another whole article in itself. The bottom line is that they do what they say and build properties that will make money since they are not looking for government money to make money.  
The other offer is from a group calling itself the Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group or HUPEG which has a lot of the usual players involved and is toting their development at a half a billion dollar investment but will need some government money and quite honestly I bet it will be a lot more than some.  The players involved are all big hitters and looks like a lot more money but I bet you dollars to donuts both offers will have a lot of glitz and glam but not too much real substance. You might get excited about the $500 million dollar investment but with the strings attached you really have to dig into these offers and see what is real and what is just like the LRT which is a ponzi scheme.
It is awesome that we have two interested parties but what’s most important is what will actually get done and what are the real costs. The Hamilton City Council will be looking at it and I am sure they will get all political over it and make a bunch of gaslighting speeches but who will really dig into these offers and vet them. The mayor was so behind the LRT we can write off his opinions since he has no idea what is real and what is not so we really should have the lawyers and or an independent board look into these offers and vet them properly.  

Jackson Square was a bit of a fiasco back in the day and the LRT was a total snow job so lets really dive into these proposals and find which one will not only produce what they say but do the best job for our city. I would offer my time to sit on a board as long as they include a diverse group of people from the arts community, real estate community, legal and planning departments to really make sure the right projects not only goes forward but completes the right facilities for the city for the future of our city. V  

Darrin DeRoches is a local real estate and mortgage broker. He can be reached to answer questions, comments or stories about real estate experiences through this weekly column at

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