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MY TOWN | Deconstructing Darko Vranich

Darko Vranich is riding a crest of good news and goodwill: the developer's newly completed Staybridge Suites just opened on Caroline Street, and his Federal Building condo-hotel project is forging ahead, further transforming the core. The hard-working head of the Vrancor Group talks about his love for the city, his vision for downtown and what the future holds for Hamilton.

Where did you grow up and how did it shape you personally and professionally?
I was born in a small village outside of Karlovac, Croatia. I spent some time working in Germany as a young man before immigrating to Canada at the age of 20. I learned that anything can be achieved through hard work and dedication.

What brought you to the city?
I saw the opportunity that Hamilton has to offer. The city is changing in a positive way, there's growth and it's "rising up."

How do you feel about Hamilton downtown core?
It's a wonderful and diverse area. We moved our head offi ce to King and Queen last year to be closer to it and the developments that we have here. There is a lot going on and it is very exciting to see!

Describe a typical day at work
There is no typical day for me. I start as early as 5:30 am and I'm back and forth between our head offi ce and our various development sites. It is busy but I love every day!

In one word describe what Hamilton means to you?
Opportunity… Hamilton refl ects opportunity, it's growing in new directions every day.

What is Hamilton's best kept secret?
The parks and waterfront. There is a lot of beautiful green space in Hamilton that no one sees from the QEW.

What does the city need to do to attract more developers like yourself?
We need to better develop the waterfront, as well as our train station. In terms of business, continued fi nancial incentive programs are a must. They play a big role in fuelling the growth and transformation that Hamilton has and hopefully will continue to enjoy.

What local event are you most looking forward to?
I'm thrilled about the upcoming 2015 Pan Am Games. It's a sign of Hamilton's growth as a city.

Which do you prefer, Locke Street or Ottawa Street?
I love them both, but I prefer Locke St. over Ottawa St. because it is closest to where I spend most of my time and closest to the downtown core.

Where was the best meal you've eaten?
I've had some fantastic dinners at LoPresti's and Shakespeare's over the years, but I eat most frequently at LOFT Lounge @ Sheraton.

Which Hamiltonian would you most like to have lunch with?
That's easy! It would be with my sweet granddaughter Bella!