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Hamilton Economic Development

Hamilton again tops in corporate construction

Hamilton has topped the country in corporate construction projects for the second year in a row.

The city logged 35 corporate projects between April 2012 and March 2013, which edged out Quebec City with 34 and handily outdistanced Toronto and Edmonton, which tied for third at 22.

The rankings were produced by Site Selection magazine in its Canada’s Best to Invest report. The Atlanta, Ga. publication is aimed at about 44,000 corporate site selectors.

Hamilton also topped the rankings in 2011-2012 and was in second place behind Toronto in 2010-2011.

“I think this shows the whole community is pulling in the same direction,” said Neil Everson, the city’s director of economic development.

“They’re all over the city, which is great, and they are across different industries, which is the diversity we’ve been pushing for the last 15 to 20 years.”

A rough tally of investment comes in at more than $250 million, but Everson cautions that not every company attached a dollar figure to its project.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, Hamilton’s economic diversification index is 0.94 out of a possible 1, which is the best in Canada.

The city’s submission to Site Selection says Hamilton gained approximately 1,070 jobs over the year.

The number of projects grew significantly across most cities on the list over the June 2011-May 2012 period last studied. Hamilton had 20 projects during that time.

The city’s Hamilton Calling program, which interviews and surveys city employers, found close to 65 per cent of 345 visited plan to expand in terms of job, facilities or investment in the next three years. Close to 95 per cent saw an increase in sales over the previous year and almost 70 per cent plan to introduce new products or services in the next two years.

To be eligible for inclusion in the Site Selection tally, projects must be at least a $1-million investment, result in 50 new jobs or be more than 20,000 square feet in area. Data is collected through building permits and from company representatives. It is independently verified by Site Selection staff.

Everson says the data will be vital to the city’s marketing push as a corporate destination aimed at the GTA.

“So when people say, ‘Why should I look at Hamilton?’ There’s a reason: because everyone else is.”

The city’s economic development department was also named among the 10 best in Canada. Rankings aren’t assigned to that list.

The report appears in Site Selection’s September edition which will be posted Thursday.

Article courtesy of Meredith MacLeod, The Hamilton Spectator.

 

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