'A major draw for companies'

by Murray McNeill

Canada’s first tri-modal inland port — CentrePort Canada — has marked another milestone with the announcement of its first new industrial development offering fully serviced land.

The new 100-acre development is located within the existing Brookside Industrial Park, and will be ready for development by next summer.

Unlike the other land that already has been developed on the 20,000-acre CentrePort site, the new lots can be connected to a central water and sewer system. Some of the other lots had a water hookup, but required their own septic fields, and others required both a septic field and a well.

Heidi Spletzer, vice-president of Crystal Developers — the Winnipeg company that co-developed the second phase of the Brookside Industrial Park and is the lead developer for the third phase that was to be announced today — said most of the companies that didn’t require fully serviced land have already made their purchases. And the ones who do require fully serviced land have had to wait on the sidelines for several years until some became available. 

"So this is something that was needed," she said. 

CentrePort president and CEO Diane Gray said the introduction of fully serviced land is an important milestone for CentrePort, and should lead to more new investment on the CentrePort site, which is located on the west side of the city and in the neighbouring Rural Municipality of Rosser. 

"The park will be a major draw for companies in key sectors like advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and transportation and logistics," Gray said, noting that since 2009, 52 new businesses employing more than 1,400 people have set up shop in the port, which has direct access to truck, rail and air cargo services. 

"The exciting part about this is that now that we have fully serviced industrial land available for private industries to locate on, there will be more jobs created going forward," she said. 

Lee Garfinkel, deputy reeve of the R.M. of Rosser, said municipal officials have a good working relationship with Crystal Developers, and are excited to now have fully serviced land available in the municipality. 

The new land is being marketed by Cushman & Wakefield Winnipeg. Associate vice-president Stephen Sherlock said new, fully serviced industrial land is hard to come by in Winnipeg, particularly in the northwest quadrant of the city. 

"So this land becoming available in the Brookside Industrial Park will provide much needed inventory," Sherlock said. "With all of the pent-up demand, we anticipate this land will sell quickly." 

He said they already have a conditional deal with the National Research Council (NRC) for a 9.8-acre parcel of land in the Phase III development. As earlier reported, the NRC hopes to build a $60-million Factory of the Future research centre on the site. 

Sherlock said that although Cushman & Wakefield Winnipeg is only now beginning to market the development, thanks to word of mouth, it has already been getting calls from a number of interested companies. While many of them are looking for land for their own use, it’s possible some investors may be looking to buy a parcel of land with the idea of developing leasable space. 

"Our vacancy rates are low, so definitely there is an opportunity for an investor to buy land... either to put a multi-tenant building on there, or a build-to-suit (single-tenant building)," he said.

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