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Hamilton Economic Development

New BIA chair says better days ahead for Concession Street

The new chair of the Concession Street Business Improvement Area sees more good times ahead for the Mountain’s oldest shopping district.

“I think the openness and willingness to work collectively to make this street come back to life is what we’re looking to do,” said Leo Santos, who was unopposed for the position at the first meeting of the BIA’s new board of management on Dec. 18.

Santos noted that of all the business owners on the new board, only Phil Bradshaw is back from the previous group.

“The change is happening,” said Santos, who added the new board mostly reflects the younger and newer business owners on Concession Street.

The popular restaurant owner said his goals in the coming days include attracting new business to the street and ensuring BIA members take advantage where possible of business improvement grants offered by the city.

He’s even planning to speak to the business owners about a possible rebranding of Concession Street.

“To decide on a new identity for the street,” he said.

Also acclaimed at the meeting were James McHardy as vice chair, Mirella Leo as secretary and Alana Travis as treasurer.

Also on the board are Bradshaw, Sherry Bohorquez, Gabby Chavez, Jason Hofing, Carolyn Jonaitis, Shenny Rodriguez and Mountain councillors Scott Duvall and Tom Jackson.

Board members serve a four-year term.

The first major job for the new board will be to hire a new full-time executive director to replace Carlo Gorni, who is moving on to become BIA coordinator with the City of Hamilton.

He’ll oversee the 13 BIAs in the city.

Gorni said the new job is a good opportunity and he’s leaving Concession Street at the end of the year on a positive note.

“There are great people up here and great businesses,” Gorni said. “I think the street’s got nothing but positive days ahead.”

The board has formed a hiring committee that was expected to begin advertising for the position this week.

Santos said he would like to see the new executive director chosen by the end of January.

City council last week approved the BIA’s $80,750 budget.

That includes up to $45,000 for the executive director.

Article courtesy of Mark Newman, Hamilton Community News

Coffee’s on at renovated Tim Hortons Store One

Extensive renovations have finished at the first ever Tim Hortons doughnut shop, which has been at the corner of Ottawa and Dunsmure in Hamilton for 50 years.

“Store One” re-opened quietly this weekend and it has been jammed ever since with customers who want a jolt of the past with their java.

The unassuming little re-purposed garage is gone leaving no doubt that this corner of Ottawa Street North is home to the original donut shop opened by a hockey player and a police officer.

Customers walk in to a full service store, with some retro design touches. Up the stairs you’ll find a little corner that looks just like it did 50 years ago, including the original uniform, and treats that were on the menu back then.

You can also take a stroll down memory lane.

Sandy Vanrijn has spent 24 years working at Tim Hortons and curated the new museum portion of the store.

The grand opening celebration is set for January 7.

Article courtesy of  CHCH

Cargo carrier flies record load through Hamilton

Hamilton airport’s largest cargo carrier has notched its biggest single volume of freight in a single day.

In the run-up to Christmas, Cargojet Airways Ltd. moved more than 850,000 pounds of goods through its Hamilton facility in a single day earlier this week — a record. On an average night, it moves one million pounds across its entire North American network.

As busy as Thursday was, Cargojet executive vice-president and co-founder Jamie Porteous expects Monday to be even busier.

“Twenty years ago, the busy season used to start just after Labour Day, then as e-commerce started to develop, it was condensed into a couple of weeks in December,” he said. “In 2009 and ’10, when the economy was down, we’d be at Dec. 15 wondering when it was going to start, but now we’ve had seven consecutive quarters of volume growth.”

That growth, Porteous said, is only a fraction of what the company hopes to achieve in 2015 as it doubles its capacity and gains the benefits of a new $12-million cargo terminal under construction at the airport.

Cargojet will take up a half of the new 70,000-square-foot terminal. The building features 16 truck-loading bays, dedicated merchandise and courier handling areas, secured customs areas and refrigerated areas for perishables such as flowers, produce and pharmaceuticals. It will also include facilities to handle live animals.

The new terminal will also feature space for shippers to assemble cargo from different areas or break up skids of goods for shipment to numerous final destinations.

Currently, Porteous said, some of Cargojet’s clients have freight brought into Hamilton by air and then have to truck it to another location to be sorted and shipped to its final destination. If that work could be done at Hamilton airport, close to highways and away from the gridlock of the Toronto area, everyone stands to benefit.

“This is something that could help them improve their service by hours,” he said. “Once we have this terminal in operation, I see it being filled up quickly and very soon we’ll be talking about expanding it.”

Frank Scremin, president of John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, has said the new terminal should be in operation by the second quarter of 2015.

Another major boost to Cargojet’s growth was its selection earlier this year as the air freight operator for Purolator and Canada Post. That deal is expected to bring the company $1 billion in revenue over its seven-year life.

Based on that contract and its recent growth, the company has doubled its fleet to 24 aircraft since the end of 2013.

The company has also doubled its share price over the past 12 months. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $13.14 to $26.65 on the TSX. On Friday, it was at $24.40, down 70 cents, in afternoon trading.

Cargojet’s rapid growth is also translating into new jobs with the company. It has about 300 of its 500 employees, including pilots, working from Hamilton airport and anticipates hiring another 100 by May. The jobs will be in air operations and ground cargo handling.

“We’re going to have to hold a job fair early in the new year,” Porteous said.

Growth isn’t free: Cargojet has invested $300 million in new aircraft, equipment and facilities in the past year. Those costs have had an impact on the company’s bottom line. To the end of its 2014 third quarter, it reported revenue of more than $135.2 million and EBITDA (a measure of profit before taxes and other items) of almost $5.1 million.

On the average day, Cargojet’s freight can include anything from East Coast lobsters bound for Germany to groceries and snowmobile parts for Nunavut to auto parts and the full range of consumer goods being rushed across the country before Christmas.

The company also handled through Hamilton every piece of the polymer used to make Canada’s new currency.

In addition to cargo handling and maintenance facilities, Cargojet’s Hamilton operations include its dispatch and control functions as well as bunkhouses for its male and female pilots when they’re on standby or layovers.

“We’re the most dominant cargo airline in Canada right now because nobody else can do what we do,” Porteous added. “Despite that, we’ve been a fairly low-key operation in Hamilton for the last 15 years.”

Article courtesy of Steve Arnold, The Hamilton Spectator

2014 a record building year reports Hamilton

HAMILTON — Hamilton issued more than $1.1 billion worth of construction permits in 2014 as of mid-fall, according to the city’s chief building official, Ed VanderWindt.

“As of October, the residential component was the strongest, accounting for 73.15 per cent of the month’s total and is valued at $65.57 million. Of the 325 residential permits, 103 were issued for new single-family dwellings at a total of $38.06 million,” said VanderWindt in an interview.

The top four permits in construction value (as of Nov. 25) were:

— The PanAm Stadium at 64 Melrose Ave. North

— A 10-storey addition to an existing six-storey building at 1620 Upper Wentworth St.

— A five-storey addition to an existing six-storey building at 150 Main St. West

— A pending superstructure of a five-storey McMaster University building at 1280 Main St. West

Commercial activity accounts for 15.43 per cent or $13.83 million, with 44 permits issued. Industrial activity accounts or 6.43 per cent or $5.76 million and the government and institutional activity accounts for 3.53 per cent or $3.17 million.

To compare, construction activity in 2013 was dominated by the residential sector, with over $524 million in construction, or 51.2 per cent of the annual total.

Industrial, Commercial and Institutional accounted for $496 million, which was an increase of 28.1 per cent over the previous high set in 2012

VanderWindt adds that more than $150 million in construction is on the cusp to “go out the door,” so the final 2014 total could be exceptionally higher.

Since Jan. 1, the city has issued over 5,000 permits worth just shy of $1 billion in construction.

These are the second-highest totals in the last five-years. 2012 was the benchmark year, when $1.4 billion worth of construction permits were issued.

“These building permits are not all attributable to one sector — there are great numbers in residential, commercial, industrial and institutional categories,” says Neil Everson, City of Hamilton economic development director.

“It’s also interesting to point out that the permits represent not just new business, but in fact, many are directly related to business expansion of local companies.”

Among other projects in the works, a $2-million complex of stores to be constructed in Glanbrook, $1.4 million for an Arvin Avenue manufacturing plant in Stoney Creek, $2 million for an office complex on Upper Ottawa Street in the east end and over $800-thousand for a warehouse on Hempstead Drive on the east mountain.

Everson, in a news release, said industrial-commercial permits are important because many represent expansions of local companies as well as work for new businesses to the Hamilton area.

Article courtesy of  Dena Fehir, Daily Commercial News

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