Red Hill Business Park helps drive the economy

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The City of Hamilton is beginning to market three large-tract industrial parcels in its Red Hill Business Park South, which is already home to Canada’s largest commercial bakery in Canada Bread, a huge Maple Leaf processing plant, the eastern hub for Navistar’s truck parts distribution business, water membrane manufacturer Fibracast Inc., and steel construction company Walters Group.

The market is seeing unprecedented demand, says the City’s business development manager Norm Schleehahn.

“The interest levels in our commercial and industrial property has never been higher. Vacancy rates in Hamilton and the GTA are astonishingly low, but we are seeing lots of new products in play and much more coming online. What Hamilton offers is a large cost advantage over the GTA along with the large parcels of land that are very difficult to find anywhere east of the city.”

The 915-acre Red Hill South park is located at the junction of the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway and The Red Hill Valley Parkway, and just minutes from the Queen Elizabeth Way and Highway 403.

“Hamilton is one of the only city in Ontario will all four major forms of transportation within its urban boundaries. For users that require port, airport and rail access, that is a big plus,” said business development consultant Brian Morris.

About 398 acres remain in the southern park, with about 240 acres either fully or partially serviced. The City of Hamilton owns five large parcels and three are being actively marketed: 400 Glover Rd. is about 13 acres, 863 Nebo Rd. is roughly 25 acres, and 420 Trinity Church Rd. is approximately 43 acres.

The City will seek large-use tenants, with a particular focus on the priority sectors of advanced manufacturing, agriculture and food processing, transportation and logistics, and life sciences, but parcels can be broken into smaller units.

“The No. 1 thing industry is concerned about is access to talent,” said Morris.

“Within a 45-minute drive, we have a labour pool of 2.5 million people and our local post-secondary institutions are a big part of the story. We also offer strong HSR bus service to the park.”

Truck parts manufacturer Navistar’s location in the Red Hill park serves as its eastern Canadian distribution centre. It offers great access to major dealers in Ontario, Quebec and New York, which is critical to customers who need to get disabled trucks back on the road, says Scott Wick, distribution manager for eastern Canada.

Wick says Navistar needed a lean, purpose-built facility and so made the move from Burlington in 2014. The 250,000-square-foot hub employs 35 and has about 24,000 different parts in its inventory.

While the City typically doesn’t engage brokers for its properties, it will offer compensation for those who secure deals on the Red Hill parcels with companies that are coming to Hamilton for the first time, says Ray Kessler, manager of real estate.

“Our objective is to land new jobs and to grow the assessment base. We want to make sure there are no barriers from a land acquisition perspective. That includes putting our parcels on the market at fair market value. We are prioritizing bringing companies that want to grow in Hamilton”