Bingo cards to startup stars?

The Delta Bingo Hall located in Gore Park on the corner of King and Hughson is closing. Bingo halls have been in decline lately so the news perhaps shouldn’t be too surprising. It’s also unfortunate for the charities supported by the bingo hall, the attendees and those who worked there – hopefully everyone is able to find alternatives.

That said, for a long time now people have looked at that space as being underutilized in its potential. It’s a massive, wide-open space with big clear windows surrounding the corner of the building. It was hard to not think about what could be there instead.

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Rendering created by Nick Tomkin (@ntomkin) Director of Orbital

 

A year and a half ago at SuperCrawl I remember talking with Nick Tomkin about that space and how it would make a cool co-working / incubator / accelerator type space. Not only had he had the exact same idea, he had actually whipped together a rendering. After talking to people it looks like others have had the same or similar idea too.

I’m not sure what makes the most sense at that spot from a logical standpoint. From what I’ve been told a space like that is best suited for high traffic commercial. That makes sense.

But you see stories like Communitech and Ryerson DMZ and it makes you wonder. I recently got to be part of a tour of Communitech, and we were told that one of their more successful and significant tenants was now shopping around for nearby office space to expand into. We have vacant office space downtown and lots of surface parking lots. That 21st floor of the Stelco Tower looks awfully beautiful during Hive X and other events, but it would be a lot better to see the space occupied!

Obviously the case needs to be made better than anecdotal evidence and a short blog article. But what do you think? Could some sort of co-working / incubator / accelerator space flourish in that location?

 

  • Craig Burley

    It’s a great location; my office is half a block from there and I love being centrally downtown.

    But I think that the ground floor in particular is poorly suited for most (certainly not all) startups. The Ryerson DMZ open-space environment is OK for some kinds of tech workers, but it sets up very poorly for anyone who needs to afford their clients even a minimum of security and confidentiality, or who works with any significant amount of intellectual capital.

    But that being said, there is a lot more space in that building than just the bingo hall area. It would take a lot of guts and vision (and capital) to make that sort of project a reality though.

    Would I love to have it as a neighbour though? ABSOLUTELY!

  • http://whoyoucallingajesse.com/ Jesse Rodgers

    It’s a great idea and I totally agree it would help. Ideally you have a mix of small event space (100 people), private working space, and a more open space.

    One of the best places I have been to is 500 startups in Mountain View — just amazing, raw, startupy, perfect. That might fit in the Stelco Tower better. In doing this you have to be careful not to copy others but do something that will work for the community you are in!

    I wouldn’t see it as something that would just keep creative young talent in Hamilton but it would like draw in talent as well. Lower cost, more urban, the raw energy of a community coming together.. exciting stuff!

  • Craig Burley

    I agree that great space in downtown Hamilton will act as a draw from outside. This city when at its best is cheap, raw, ambitious and aggressive, and it’s a great source of energy for anyone trying to do new and better things.

  • Janelle Hinds Inc

    Nice. As anyone who has talked to me knows I would love to see McMaster get a space. I initially was thinking more the closer to McMaster but downtown is perfect . Nice collab between McMaster, Mohawk and professionals. The government pledged money to accelerators/incubator. Perfect timing. Hamilton is cheaper to live in than Toronto, a nice drawing factor for startups

  • http://www.moderncognition.com crhayes

    I’ve always thought that space would be great for a Winners retail store. The core needs more retail to draw people in and the price point at Winners fits the current demographic downtown (those that live in the area and the students from McMaster and Columbia that frequent the area).