May 15th, 2019

Uprising of Connolly

Posted in: All News

c/o The Hamilton Spectator

Developers of the downtown Connolly highrise project say it will cost $5 million and take one-and-a-half years to restore the remains of the former James Street Baptist Church at the front of the property.

But they are committed to doing the work as part of a $100-million, 30-storey condo tower at James and Jackson streets. The former 135-year-old church will be a major part of the overall design.

“This isn’t just a facade. We have kept a significant portion of the church,” said Drew Hauser of mcCallumSather architects. “It’s not just decoration. In the end it will be part of a wonderful blending of the old and the new.”

But Luke Wywrot of LCH Developments, the chief engineer on the project, says the restoration of the church section — that is about six metres deep and 10 metres wide — will not be easily accomplished.

“There is extensive work required to stabilize the foundation,” he said.

The foundation repair is expected to take more than two months. Once that’s done, the construction on the tower can begin while further above ground repairs are done to the church. That work is expected to take up to one-and-a-half years, with the entire project being completed within two-and-a-half years.

“Over the years, the church wasn’t properly maintained,” said Wywrot. Restorative work was done in the 1970s, “but they used the wrong kind of grout. … It made things worse.”

Once the grout is replaced, he said, they plan to connect the outer and inner brick walls with engineered screws to add stability. This will be followed by a restoration of the stained glass and other features.

“Everything will be restored to its glory days — all the ornaments on the outside. Everything will be addressed. It is going to look spectacular,” Wywrot said.

Read the full article from The Hamilton Spectator

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