Hamilton industrial parks: Finding growth in a full market
In the late ’90s one of Norm Schleehahn’s duties at the city included trying to promote and support growth in Stoney Creek.
Land in its industrial park was going for $50,000 to $80,000 an acre.
Now Schleehahn’s job has expanded as manager of business development and so has the price of land in Stoney Creek’s industrial park — anywhere from $350,000 to $400,000 on the coveted strips along the QEW.
“There’s not a lot of vacant land on the QEW and there’s a 1.5 per cent vacancy rate out here,” said Schleehahn. “That’s just a function of supply and demand. There isn’t much land anywhere as a matter of fact. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it means growth, but bad because it means how do you help new companies come here and help the current ones grow more?”
Stoney Creek’s Business Park spans 678 hectares and is bounded by Grays Road, Barton Street, the QEW and Fifty Road. Aside from the odd piece of public land, it is largely privately owned and developed.
The park has seen many recent changes including a new office building on Arvin Avenue which now houses Staalduinen Floral which outgrew its old space in Stoney Creek and the addition of Liburdi Engineering, which moved to a building in Stoney Creek when it had a fire strike its Flamborough plant in 2010.
It rebuilt in Flamborough, but retained its Stoney Creek office, too, said Schleehahn.
There is also expected growth near the park’s border at Fifty Road and the QEW — a controversial approval of rezoning by city council to allow for the construction of a Wal-Mart store and other retail buildings. Controversial because the land was originally intended as employment lands and there were concerns about its impact on property values.
But as far as Johnny DeFaveri, president of DeFaveri Group which has several industrial land holdings in the area, the development is not entirely bad.
“No industrial company would want that spot,” he said. “If you don’t like development in general, then you won’t like this. But there’s a new school going up across the tracks, new homes nearby slated to be built, I see it as a good thing.”
DeFaveri owns land just off Lewis Road where he is building two new office buildings and they are already full.
“I do see (Stoney Creek industrial park) is on the upswing. It’s not all doom and gloom. You aren’t getting the margins you used to. You just have to adjust accordingly.”
Article courtesy of Lisa Marr, The Hamilton Spectator