New Horizon Development Group co-founder and Pres­ident, Jeff Paikin, has never been one to hide his unwa­vering affinity and passion for his hometown. The local developer and philanthropist was recently named Hamilton’s Citizen of the Year, in large part, due to his pioneering efforts to bring dynamic new condo developments to the down­town core.

In the last five years, he and his partner Joe Giaco­modonato have achieved record-setting results across the Southwestern Ontario region, in some of the nation’s most sought after and competitive markets like Burlington, Oakville and Stoney Creek. Still, there is little mystery as to which accomplish­ment he is most proud of. “Hamilton Baby!”, Paikin exclaims.

The progressive duo behind New Horizon Development Group took a big risk four years ago when they decided to bring City Square Park­side Condominiums to the prestigious Durand neighbourhood – the first new build, high-rise condo development in downtown Hamilton in over 20 years. “Hamilton had endured some tough times over the past two decades or so, and developers were under­standably apprehensive about taking the plunge.” Paikin explains. “Part of the risk for us wasn’t just our company’s bottom line, but rather the realization that any hint of failure would in effect scare away other developers from undertak­ing similar ventures.”

Fast forward to now and all economic indicators are pointing towards Hamilton being the next big thing in Canadian real estate. “A lot of what has generated the positive buzz surrounding Hamilton is not just what’s happening within the city, but also the growing interest and advocacy from outside influencers and opinion-makers. They have caused Hamiltonian’s to look at their city in a better light,” Paikin shares, “we’d like to think we had some role in influencing and inspiring that shift in perception.”

City Square eventual­ly became an area-wide model for new condo development, with the first tower completely selling out in record time, Tower 2 of the project already over 90% sold, and a huge following of prospective purchasers awaiting for the third and final phase to be released later next year. “The success garnered at City Square is a testament to Hamilton’s emotional commitment to our urban heritage and the pent-up consumer demand for walkable, vibrant places in which to live, work and play,” says Paikin.

Don’t count on Paikin to rest on his laurels though, as he makes it abundantly clear that there is still a long road to travel. “Down­town revitalization on a large scale generally takes a generation to accom­plish, so it’s too early to declare outright victory.” Paikin shares. “Since it is more complex than sub­urban real estate devel­opment, true success in this endeavor will requires a degree of cooperation that is sometime difficult to pull off and will best be achieved via the private sector. Our collective goal should be to create an at­mosphere that is inclusive and accommodating to young aspiring profession­als, while still appealing to those who either choose to stay or move back to healthy urban living. It is my firm conviction that creating a more vibrant downtown culture will give us a better shot at recruit­ing and retaining the ‘crea­tive class’ of workers.”

“Downtown Hamilton is a little different in its phys­ical condition, institutional assets, consumer demand, history and civic intent. These differences require developers to bring intelli­gently positioned product that speaks to the current culture and core values unique to our city.

If we can continue to stay true to these values, our collective efforts will provide future generations an opportunity to enjoy Hamilton in a different and better way.”