McMaster has found a new home for its Downtown Centre after hearing from the city that its current building, the old Wentworth County Courthouse at 50 Main Street East, is needed again for municipal purposes.
Roger Couldrey, McMaster’s vice-president, administration, told the public about the find.
“We are pleased to announce that McMaster is taking over more than 50,000 square feet of space at 1 James North, right at the corner of James and King,” he said in an interview with the Daily News.
McMaster will be leasing the entire building at 1 James Street North—an office building on top of Jackson Square mall.
“I think it’s a great location. It’s one of the best corners in downtown Hamilton, and is a stand-alone building that we can make our own. It allows us to contribute once more to the rejuvenation of downtown Hamilton,” said Couldrey.
More than 200 staff members and 4,000 students will continue to use the new Downtown Centre.
Most service units from the current DTC will be making the move to the new building, while a few others will be implemented into the Medical Health Campus that is currently under construction and set to at open at the start of 2015.
Financial Affairs—who overseas investments, purchasing, accounts and treasury—and Advancement—the office responsible for fundraising and donor relations—will be making the move to 1 James North, along with the office of Institutional Research and Analysis and the Centre for Continuing Education.
Some of the research units will be packing up for McMaster Innovation Park, while the Regional Medical Associates will be making their own arrangements for new space.
The new lease was signed after negotiations between Yale Properties and the University, through Strategic Procurement and Facility Services.
“It is a long-term lease, not indefinite but long-term,” said Couldrey. He continued, “we are not making the details public. The University will be investing quite substantially in fitting out the new space.”
The 50,000 square feet at the 1 James Street North property is a smaller space than the current DTC but Couldrey doesn’t see it as a problem.
“The DTC was built as a public building, a court house, and is very spacious. The new building will be designed to normal office standards. By virtue of the multiple parties moving [elsewhere] we actually have a need for less space,” he said.
Thousands of students and hundreds of staff transitioning to 1 James North will have to find a new place to park.
The building is in a convenient location for access to public transit but those who drive to the DTC will have to pay for parking under the building or in a nearby lot.
McMaster hopes to make the move in late 2014 and early 2015, permitting a lease extension on the 50 Main Street East building.
“The City originally gave us notice to move out of the DTC building by Dec. 31 2014. We have asked for an extension and are hopeful that a small extension will be possible. We are planning the move accordingly,” said Couldrey.
McMaster has operated out of the Downtown Centre for 13 years.