The owner of Jackson Square says he is considering legal
action against the city for its "ludicrous" plan to subsidize
a multimillion-dollar downtown development plan.
Emile Mashaal, president of Yale Properties, said the city's support
of a revised proposal to redevelop the derelict Lister Block
on James Street North -- with a phased-in $7-million investment
-- makes him want to cry.
"I can't believe this is happening," he said. "It's mind-boggling
... Why would anybody (choose to build in Hamilton) when
the city is going to go into competition with you?"
He said he met privately with Mayor Bob Wade to
discuss his concerns about the ambitious $78-million project but felt
compelled to send a letter to make it clear the
company was reviewing its development agreement and options.
"We have to look at our agreements and see what
they are. It might entail (legal action)," he said. "We
might have grounds, we might not have grounds. Suing is
not a picnic and nobody likes to do it but
when people are backed against a wall and they have
to do it to protect themselves, they might do it."
Part of the ambitious proposal backed by council in a
12-4 vote Tuesday night calls for moving the successful Hamilton
Farmers' Market, now joined to Jackson Square off York Boulevard,
into the Lister Block complex.
The strongly worded letter, sent by the company's Hamilton lawyers,
warned Wade the company believes it "will have substantial claims
against the city" if the market is relocated.
The letter states a part of the mall was allocated,
at the city's request, for the public purposes of the
farmers' market and library.