Rosenau Transport Lands at CentrePort
Edmonton-based firm the 51st company to set up in hub since 2009
by Martin Cash
Officials at CentrePort Canada are doubly pleased with the decision by Edmonton-based Rosenau Transport Ltd. to open a 140,000-square-foot trucking terminal and warehousing operation on the inland port’s footprint.
Not only does it further burnish CentrePort’s growing status as a transportation and distribution hub, Rosenau is taking over a portion of a massive 600,000-square-foot building that was formerly Canada Safeway’s distribution centre, which had been left empty in the aftermath of Sobeys’ purchase of Canada Safeway.
Ken Rosenau, the third generation of his family to run the business, said the decision to finally establish a large Winnipeg presence was made due to market demand.
The company has had a 110,000-square-foot operation in Brandon for about 15 years — about 20 per cent of Rosenau’s business is in the agricultural sector — and about 18 months ago it opened a 5,000-square-foot operation in Winnipeg.
"Our customers were asking us to move into the Winnipeg market and said we would go one day per week, then it was two days and then three," Rosenau said.
"It made sense that it (setting up a large operation in Winnipeg) should be the last piece of our puzzle coming east."
With 20 truck bays and a massive warehouse space, Rosenau joked that some colleagues were asking what he was thinking.
But we have about 80,000 square feet of the space lined up with a customer and I think we will be filled by the end of next year," he said.
The company will sink about $1.5 million into renovation of the facility.
Rosenau has about 500 employees across 23 terminals and facilities in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 450 power units and 1,200 pieces of rolling stock.
Rosenau becomes the 51st company to set up in CentrePort since 2009. By the time it is fully operational it will need about 25 employees.
Diane Gray, the CEO of CentrePort, said, "We are really delighted to see the infrastructure used by a quality company like Rosenau."
It’s not as if the old Safeway distribution centre was an eyesore, because it was not sitting empty for long.
It was decommissioned gradually, but because it is such a massive space — much larger than most other distribution centres — it needed the right tenant to move in.
"Rosenau took over a year to test the waters, so to speak. That is the way a smart and sophisticated company does it before they make a massive investment in the marketplace," she said.
The major expansion by Rosenau is the first of a few new developments coming up for CentrePort.
Next week, there will be announcements of some other space leased by a couple of new companies and earth-moving equipment is in the field preparing the land for a brand new industrial park development at CentrePort.
Gray said Crystal Properties, developers of Brookside Business Park III on the south side of CentrePort Canada Way, will start marketing that land soon.
And CentrePort’s largest greenfield development yet is coming in the near future as the National Research Council is just completing its due diligence on a 10-acre site with the intention of building a $60-million Factory of the Future research centre.
That will be a massive investment into the economy," Gray said.
"We are looking at what it will mean as an anchor to attract other companies as well. It will create opportunities for other companies to co-locate in the general vicinity."