Hamilton Economic Development

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.




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