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Hamilton Economic Development

Another billion-dollar year for building permits

January 25, 2012 file photo of construction at a site on George St. in Hamilton.Hamilton has smashed its $1-billion record for building permits — and that’s just for the first nine months of the year.

The city issued $1.175 billion in building permits between January and September, said Tim McCabe, the city’s director of planning and economic development.

The permit for the $303-million St. Joseph’s hospital building on West 5th Street tipped the city over the 2010 record of $1.096 billion.

“We’re 10 weeks ahead of the 2010 record, which reached the record in the first week of December,” said McCabe.

Mayor Bob Bratina said the figure is “another marker of the amazing times this city is experiencing.

“Our economy is — I would use the word spectacular. Because every measurable is positive and exceeds our expectations,” he said.

What’s being built in Hamilton is just as important as the volume, said McCabe. Most of the permits — 56.5 per cent — were issued to the commercial, industrial and institutional sectors, while residential permits made up 42 per cent.

That’s an improvement from 2010, when more than half of permits (54 per cent) were issued for residential buildings.

As McCabe pointed out, that will ease the load on Hamilton taxpayers and further the city’s goal of boosting its non-residential tax base.

“That’s a very important stat, because you want to diversify your assessment,” he said.

McCabe said there are one or two other cities in Ontario that have also hit the $1-billion building permit mark this year. However, he points out that with Brampton, for instance, $950 million in permits were residential.

In April, city staff predicted Hamilton to be on track to break the 2010 $1-billion record. After the first quarter of this year, the city had issued $271 million in building permits, up $75 million compared to the first quarter of that record-setting year.

But in May, while residential growth remained strong, permits for commercial, institutional and industrial projects fell short.

By the end of the year, McCabe foresees a permit total of between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion.

McCabe credited several initiatives for the high permit numbers, including new space in the city’s industrial parks, a spike in downtown construction, and major road accesses such as the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

“The age-old thing about the Red Hill parkway — I think it’s come to fruition, I really do,” he said.

McCabe also pointed out that his department has been able to meet the increased demand for permits without hiring extra staff.

“We’re doing well. I’m really happy, and really proud of the staff. All of this comes with a lot of work,” he said. “We’re working our butts off.”

Article courtesy The Hamilton Spectator.

Selling Hamilton in Toronto

Harry Stinson is pictured here at his desk. Stinson has two high-profile condo developments in the works — the Stinson School and the Hamilton Grand.

Skeptical Torontonians at Property Show listen intently as Hamilton explains why they should invest in real estate here

At a crowded hotel in the heart of Toronto, everyone’s talking about Hamilton.

Residents from Toronto and beyond came to the Hyatt Regency Hotel Saturday for the Property Show, a conference and investment seminar geared toward those looking to sink some cash into the real estate market.

There, developer Harry Stinson, city urban renewal manager Glen Norton and realtor Mark Loeffler told the crowd why they should set their sights on Hamilton.

“You can buy a nice home for $200,000, $300,000. Here (in Toronto), that will get you a studio apartment,” Stinson said.

Saturday’s panel had some of the highest pre-registration numbers of the conference, Norton said — so high that the panel was moved from one of the smaller rooms to a large ballroom.

Much of the discussion at the panel revolved around things Hamiltonians already know — the city’s move away from manufacturing, the urban art scene on James Street North, the ambitious plans for the waterfront. The city’s affordable real estate prices also loomed large over the hour-long panel.

“You’ve got a market in Toronto — it’s just so expensive and scary now. People are pausing; $400,000 for a studio apartment just doesn’t seem right,” said Stinson. “And then they see in Hamilton, for $400,000 they can buy two large homes. A lot of times, they start off buying because it’s a cheap investment — then they realize ‘You know, this is kind of a cool city.’”

Still, it was clear from the crowd’s questions that many who live outside Hamilton still see it as a steel town.

Norton said the conference came at the end of a two-month advertising blitz in the GTA that challenged that sort of stereotypical idea about Hamilton.

“We spent over $80,000 in Toronto in September and October — we’re just winding it to a close now — to change that perception and to make them aware of what we are,” Norton said. “The timing of this show is very good — but clearly, more needs to be done.”

Several members of the crowd got the message. Toronto resident Mark Dooley said he is planning to buy property in Hamilton.

“Right now, with my wife, we’ve decided that we’re going to attack and buy some investment property. So I wanted to get to know a little bit more about the city,” he said. “I’m convinced now, even more so.”

Oakville resident Chris Parrish spent five years in Hamilton as a student. He and his wife, Jenn, already own property near St. Joseph’s Hospital and are now considering more.

“It’s always good to get some new perspectives and hear from the experts,” he said.

Article courtesy The Hamilton Spectator.

Another billion-dollar year for building permits

Another record-breaking year and the year isn’t over yet!  Check out this article from today’s Hamilton Spectator that says it all:

Another billion-dollar year for building permits

January 25, 2012 file photo of construction at a site on George St. in Hamilton.

January 25, 2012 file photo of construction at a site on George St. in Hamilton. Hamilton Spectator file photo.

PERMIT BREAKDOWN

Residential: $502 million

Institutional: $383 million

Industrial: $153 million

Commercial: $137 million

Hamilton has smashed its $1-billion record for building permits — and that’s just for the first nine months of the year.

The city issued $1.175 billion in building permits between January and September, said Tim McCabe, the city’s director of planning and economic development.

The permit for the $303-million St. Joseph’s hospital building on West 5th Street tipped the city over the 2010 record of $1.096 billion.

“We’re 10 weeks ahead of the 2010 record, which reached the record in the first week of December,” said McCabe.

Mayor Bob Bratina said the figure is “another marker of the amazing times this city is experiencing.

“Our economy is — I would use the word spectacular. Because every measurable is positive and exceeds our expectations,” he said.

What’s being built in Hamilton is just as important as the volume, said McCabe. Most of the permits — 56.5 per cent — were issued to the commercial, industrial and institutional sectors, while residential permits made up 42 per cent.

That’s an improvement from 2010, when more than half of permits (54 per cent) were issued for residential buildings.

As McCabe pointed out, that will ease the load on Hamilton taxpayers and further the city’s goal of boosting its non-residential tax base.

“That’s a very important stat, because you want to diversify your assessment,” he said.

McCabe said there are one or two other cities in Ontario that have also hit the $1-billion building permit mark this year. However, he points out that with Brampton, for instance, $950 million in permits were residential.

In April, city staff predicted Hamilton to be on track to break the 2010 $1-billion record. After the first quarter of this year, the city had issued $271 million in building permits, up $75 million compared to the first quarter of that record-setting year.

But in May, while residential growth remained strong, permits for commercial, institutional and industrial projects fell short.

By the end of the year, McCabe foresees a permit total of between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion.

McCabe credited several initiatives for the high permit numbers, including new space in the city’s industrial parks, a spike in downtown construction, and major road accesses such as the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

“The age-old thing about the Red Hill parkway — I think it’s come to fruition, I really do,” he said.

McCabe also pointed out that his department has been able to meet the increased demand for permits without hiring extra staff.

“We’re doing well. I’m really happy, and really proud of the staff. All of this comes with a lot of work,” he said. “We’re working our butts off.”

ereilly@thespec.com

905-526-2452 | @EmmatTheSpec

Hamilton’s young professionals agree that communication is key

Joe Accardi (Redbrick Rentals), left, and Rami Reda (Big Bee Inc.) lead a session on downtown renewal during the Hive X conference at the Sheraton Saturday.Communication with local government is key to solving challenges around downtown development and the city’s sometimes suffering image, Hamilton’s young professionals agree.

“The only way to really effect change is to be part of it. We need more people downtown to speak up,” said 24-year-old Michael Pett, one of around 150 small-business owners and entrepreneurs who attended the Hive X conference at the Sheraton Hotel Saturday. The second annual event was organized by Hamilton Hive, a network of young career professionals committed to contributing to the city’s future.

In a series of workshops, conference-goers brainstormed ideas for boosting small business, Hamilton’s image, downtown renewal and innovation. They also drove traffic online, sharing thoughts about the city and community building on Twitter and YouTube.

“I think it provided a platform where young professionals can congregate and converse and collaborate, and I think we did that quite well,” said conference chair Michael Marini. “On Twitter, we trended to third in Canada, which I thought was very impressive, as was the quality of the presentations, the moderators and the final products.”

In addition to the four workshops, Saturday’s program also included a panel discussion on how young professionals are influencing the media, featuring Hamilton Spectator editor-in-chief Paul Berton and CBC Hamilton producer Roger Gillespie, as well as a keynote address on innovation and entrepreneurship from Ty Shattuck, president of high-end imaging company PV Labs.

The take-away, Marini agreed, was about communication and connecting with one another. He was also encouraged by Ward 5 Councillor Chad Collins’s suggestion around the creation of a reporting system between Hamilton Hive and a subcommittee of council.

“That was great to hear,” he said.

While Collins, the lone councillor in attendance, disagreed with some who claimed council was unsupportive of downtown, he did acknowledge a broken link between the city and the local business community.

“We’ve had sort of a divisive relationship over the last number of years,” he said. “I think the city needs to start building bridges.”

He also asked for the group’s input on what he considers “the biggest challenge” facing council today — that is, how to convince young professionals and families to invest and live in the core.

Steve Kulakowsky has already been won over. As co-owner of Core Urban Inc., he’s shown his commitment to downtown renewal through unique residential developments, such as the Witton Lofts on Murray Street.

“I think this a great pump-up, a group hug for the city,” he said of Hive X. “For all these people to be believers in downtown, is a good thing.”

But for Hamilton Hive chair Ryan Moran, the real value that comes out of the day is in what the city’s young professionals do once they leave the conference.

“It’s what they take forward into the community in the future,” he said. “So although you might talk about ideas today, although you might meet someone you’ve never met before, it’s what you do with that idea and with that person tomorrow. That’s the impact.”

Article courtesy The Hamilton Spectator.

Union Gas splashes out on $30-million facility

Union Gas has started soil remediation work on the brownfield site in Stoney Creek that will be the home to its $30-million offices and training centre by the end of next year.

Andrea Stass, Union Gas’s spokesperson, said the company chose the site because of its commitment to environmental sustainability and its accessible location on South Service Road near Glover Road.

“One of our core values is corporate sustainability, so being on a brownfield site was attractive because we could remediate it.”

It will be built to the Gold Standard for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) designation, with a host of state-of-the-art energy and environmental technologies.

Because Union Gas is constructing a LEED building on a brownfield, it is eligible for a double whammy of city grants worth up to $1.2 million.

However, eventually the municipal property taxes for the site will be worth an estimated $220,000 a year, according to a city report on the project.

Norm Schleehahn, manager of business development for the city, said it’s the first time a company is eligible for both forms of grants.

“It’s very exciting,” he said. “The site has been empty for a long, long time.

“This is a high-profile company with a high-profile location on the highway. People will see what kind of development is taking place in Hamilton.”

The grants come in the form of offset development charges and a percentage of property taxes otherwise owed to the city.

“The final amount will depend on our construction costs, property tax assessment and on achieving LEED Gold certification,” Stass said.

The new energy-efficient technologies will also mean cost savings. Harvesting rain water and using low-flow fixtures will represent a 56 per cent reduction in water usage. Also, low-energy lights, a high-efficiency natural gas furnace, exterior and interior sunshades, triple-glazed windows in key areas, and the provision of daylight to more than 90 per cent of occupied space will result in a reduction of energy use by 30 to 40 per cent.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2013 with a year-end completion target.

The 54,400-square-foot building will serve as a regional base and training centre for the company. Stass said the company will close its office on Strathearne Avenue and move its 80 employees there to the new facility once it is complete.

The Hamilton office, which was built in the 1960s and “has served its purpose,” will eventually be torn down. Stass said the company hasn’t decided what it will do with the old site yet.

Article courtesy The Hamilton Spectator.

Tourism Hamilton has an app for that

tourism app photowebHamilton tourists are only a click away to unlocking the city’s hidden secrets.

Tourism officials unveiled, Oct. 3, the city’s new tourism app for iPhone, iPad, and iPad touch devices that reveals destinations, events, shopping, and restaurants, throughout the city. The app will be available to download free beginning Oct. 4.

“This is not only a functional tool,” said Sue Monarch, acting manager at Tourism Hamilton. “It’s an experience. It will provide people with information whenever they need it.”

The app opens up with a rotating video series of Hamilton locations. It then identifies places to stay, what to do, where to eat, and opportunities to choose favourite items, by clicking on an icon. There are also icons for events that are happening, the ability to search for specific concerts, and Tourism Hamilton staff has provided itineraries for the interested traveler, such as the War of 1812.

“The goal is to identify the user on a map and see what is available around them,” said Andy Zimmerman, e-marketing coordinator.

The app doesn’t work for blackberries, said Monarch. She said about 95 per cent of the people who visit tourismhamilton.com are Apple users. The next phase, she said, is to create remodel the app for Android users.

The cost for the Visit Hamilton app was $30,000, plus “significant in-kind partnership,” with a local Locke Street business, Factor(e) Design Initaitive, a design web, multi-media company, , which the city used for the project. She said the entire funding came from the province’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The province provided the city with about $200,000 for marketing.

“For the taxpayers of Hamilton, it was win-win,” she said. “This project was outside the box.”

The introduction of the app, and the presentation at the government issues committee Oct. 3, had councillors giddy with enthusiasm.

“This is fantastic stuff,” said Ward 2 councillor Brian McHattie.

“I can’t believe it,” said Stoney Creek councillor Brenda Johnson.

Even Ward 6 councillor Tom Jackson found himself applauding the accomplishment.

“I was even impressed,” he said. “This is the type of stuff that we expected (after taking over Tourism Hamilton).”

TourismHamiltonofficials were looking for a splash after council earlier this year agreed to dissolve the Tourism Hamilton board, and have the city absorb the staff and organization into its economic development and planning department. In April, Tourism Hamilton took over the second floor of the remodeled Lister Block. On April 13, the Tourism Hamilton visitor’s centre opened on the ground floor to great fanfare.

Article courtesy of Hamilton Community News

Sew Hungry nets Hamilton two national marketing awards

Sew Hungry, the community event that sees gourmet food trucks line Ottawa Street for one day twice a year, has won the city of Hamilton’s Economic Development department two national marketing awards.

The Economic Developers Association of Canada’s Marketing Canada Awards were presented at EDAC’s 44th annual conference. The EDAC reviewed more than 160 submissions and awarded Sew Hungry first place in the promotions/events category. The event also won the EDAC Cup Contender Award.

Penny Gardiner, CEO of the EDAC, said that comments from the judging comment noted that the event was “truly unique” and possessed “excellent grassroots support as seen on social media.”

The event’s success–last year Sew Hungry won a provincial award from the Economic Development Association of Ontario–is down to its healthy local support, said Michael Marini, marketing coordinator of Hamilton’s Economic Development Division, Planning & Economic Development Department.

That success comes at no great expense to the city, said Marini. “The marketing has only been through social media,” said Marini. “It’s marketing the city but not spending any money doing it. It’s a testament to [the vibrancy] of social media in Hamilton.”

“Sew Hungry is a good example for the rest of Canada on how to promote BIAs,” he added and noted that local restaurants and shops on Ottawa Street also benefit from the community event.

“We’re elated to have won a national award,” said Sew Hungry organizer Elisha Proietti.

Proietti said that the event is perfectly suited to a city like Hamilton.

“It’s really a social media savvy city,” she said, adding that “Hamilton has really embraced food trucks.”

The last Sew Hungry took place Sept. 21. An estimated 15,000 people turned out to sample goods from more than 20 food trucks, including 12 local Hamilton food trucks.

Prioetti said that the twice-annual event will continue to grow and evolve as it goes into its fourth year. Moreover she said that community response has been strongly supportive.

“My favourite comment so far was that whether or not it makes their cash registers ring, they love to see the street filled with people.”

Article courtesy of CBC Hamilton

2012 Marketing Canada Awards

Economic Developers Association of Canada
7 Innovation Drive, Suite 200, Flamborough, ON L9H 7H9 T: 905-689-8771 F: 905-689-5925

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: October 2, 2012
Contact: Penny A. Gardiner, Ec.D., Chief Executive Officer
T: 905-689-8771 F: 905-689-5925 E-mail: gardiner@edac.ca Website: www.edac.ca

2012 Marketing Canada Awards
Economic Developers Association of Canada
Announces – “The Best of the Best”
Sponsored by: Deloitte

Flamborough, Ontario –

The Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) is Canada’s national association of economic development professionals, representing every province and territory across Canada with 1,000+ members. The Association’s mission is to enhance the professional competence of economic development professionals and ensure placement of qualified people in the field of economic development, to advance economic development as a distinct, recognized, and self governing profession and to contribute to Canada’s well being.

The Association recognizes that marketing a community is an integral part of the economic development profession, therefore provides The Marketing Canada Awards competition as an opportunity to exchange and review promotional literature and other marketing material produced by municipalities across the country. This awards program is open to those organizations that undertake to promote and market Canadian provinces, territories, regions, cities, towns and areas with a view to improving the economic well-being of Canadians. City of Hamilton Economic Development, during the Economic Developers Association of Canada’s 44th Annual Conference, was awarded three Marketing Canada Awards:

First Place for their “Sew Hungry” Promotional Event submission
and
“Hamilton Cartoon” Promotional Video submission
including
EDAC Cup Contender
“Sew Hungry” Promotional Event

This year’s adjudication committee consisted of David Needham, Needham Promotions, Bradford, ON; Jim McGimpsey, On Three Communication Design Inc.; Hamilton, ON; Carl Knipfel, Lankinhouse Design, Toronto, ON; Heather Buttrum, On Three Communication Design Inc., Hamilton, ON.

This year’s awards program attracted 160 submissions from across Canada. We thank you for supporting our awards program.

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