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Hamilton Economic Development

Don’t look now Toronto, but Hamilton just topped $1 billion in new construction in record time

Steeltown is booming as the affordable alternative to Toronto across the real estate spectrum.

Hamilton said Tuesday it reached $1 billion worth of construction in 2017, at the fastest pace in its history, as Steeltown continues to prove itself as an affordable alternative to Toronto across the real estate spectrum.

Hamilton says it hit $1,003,737,444 on Sept. 29 based on 6,606 building projects in the residential, institutional, commercial and industrial sectors. It was the seventh and sixth consecutive time over the past eight years the city has hit the billion dollar mark.

“This record-setting pace of development is further evidence of the continued boom that Hamilton is experiencing,” said Jason Thorne, general manager of planning and economic development with the City of Hamilton.

The $1 billion of activity through nine months of 2017 compares with $797,117,186 in 2016 for the same period of time and $844,597,780 in 2015.

Hamilton’s housing has been booming as people priced out of Toronto continue to look for affordable alternatives. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has singled out Hamilton as one of five markets with strong evidence of overall problematic conditions.

The city has been impacted by Ontario’s 16-point plan to create affordable housing, including a 15 per cent tax non-resident speculation in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, an area that is home to nine million people and includes Hamilton.

The Canadian Real Estate Board reported in September that the average sale price of a home sold in the Hamilton-Burlington area was $580,195 over the first eight months of year, a 20 per cent increase over the same period a year earlier. By comparison, the average Toronto sale price was $846,379 over that same eight-month period, a 16 per cent increase from a year ago.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said that as of the end of August, 2017, Hamilton has had 1,852 new construction starts which is down from 1,926 a year earlier. There were 1,669 completions over the first eight months, which is up from 1,233 a year earlier. The average single detached home price that has been absorbed into the market climbed to $706,735 from $553,582.

City officials say the record level of construction is beyond just the housing sector and crosses into commercial activity.

“What stands out in 2017 is a positive trend with regards to the industrial and commercial sectors. For example, Hamilton is seeing an over 200 per cent increase in industrial construction value growth compared to the three-year average. This is a significant move in the right direction towards more of the overall city budget coming from the non-residential taxpayer,” said Glen Norton, director of economic development with the City of Hamilton.

Article courtesy of Garry Marr, Financial Post

City sells its technology centre to tenant firm

The city-owned Hamilton Technology Centre (HTC) has been sold to a private company called Clearcable, one of the centre’s tenants.

City officials confirmed the $3.25 million sale on Wednesday, calling it a win-win business transaction for both the city and Clearcable, a company that builds broadband for smaller providers of internet and telecommunications services.

“We had an opportunity to sell it and it was a strategic sale,” said John Hertel, the city’s revenue generation director. “We’re selling it to someone who would continue to operate it as a technology incubator.”

The business incubation centre on Innovation Drive is part of the Flamborough Business Park at Highways 5 and 6. It was funded and operated by the city’s economic development division.

HTC was established by the local municipal government in 1993 as a small business incubator, but the age of the 40,000-square-foot building meant it needed “quite a bit of capital expenditure” to maintain, Hertel said.

City council declared the property surplus in February.

Clearcable president and founder Rob McCann said the sale was completed on Aug. 31.

“This acquisition will help us realize our vision of a private technology innovation centre,” he said.

The company will be renovating, upgrading and doing “leasehold-type improvements” to the building as well as putting in a data centre, McCann said, adding the process will take about five years.

The HTC currently has 16 tenants, including Clearcable, he said.

Among Clearcable’s objectives in owning the building is a revitalization of the HTC’s incubator function by providing investment and leadership — and to connect with other community initiatives such as the McMaster Innovation Park, Innovation Factory and Hamilton Hive.

Clearcable has been in operation since 2004 and a tenant at HTC since April 2016.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger noted the company will adopt the original vision of HTC and “continue to foster the development of emerging technology companies such as theirs.”

Article courtesy of Carmela Fragomeni, The Hamilton Spectator

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