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CentrePort welcomes firm's $4.8-M buy-in

Alberta-based investor builds facility for lease at inland port

Bird Construction's (from left) Nathan Wiebe and Paul Bergman, Shindico Realty's Robert Scaletta, CentrePort CEO Diane Gray, RM of Rosser Coun. Angela Emms, Rosser Reeve Frances Smee and Bird Construction's Richard Marshall in front of the partially constructed building in CentrePort.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSEnlarge Image

Bird Construction's (from left) Nathan Wiebe and Paul Bergman, Shindico Realty's Robert Scaletta, CentrePort CEO Diane Gray, RM of Rosser Coun. Angela Emms, Rosser Reeve Frances Smee and Bird Construction's Richard Marshall in front of the partially constructed building in CentrePort.Photo Store

THE owner of an industrial park within the CentrePort footprint has as good a sense as anyone about the level of demand that exists for industrial land within the inland port.

So it's a vote of confidence in CentrePort Canada that the Alberta-based investor Olexa Developments is building a 44,000-square-foot multi-tenant industrial building in the Brookside Business Park before all the tenants have been identified.

Developers typically pre-lease more than 50 per cent for such a project before breaking ground.

It's the first build-to-lease building at CentrePort.

John Scaletta, manager of industrial properties at Shindico Inc. and the agent responsible for the development located north of Inkster Boulevard and west of Brookside Boulevard, said Olexa really does have faith in the project.

"That's why they're spending $4.8 million putting this new building up before it's fully leased up," he said.

Only one tenant has been lined up so far.

Houston-based Goodman Global Group, one of the largest manufacturers of residential and light commercial heating and air-conditioning products, has committed to 12,000 square feet of the space. It will be setting up a Canadian distribution centre.

Diane Gray, the CEO of CentrePort, said, "We get calls sometimes from interested parties asking to see potential sites for companies that want to be ready to move in six months. But there is so little inventory out there."

She said that's why the new build-to-lease project is good for the market.

Tenants in that industrial park and ones in the 67-hectare Brookside Industrial Park West south of Inkster Boulevard will have easy access to CentrePort Canada Way, the new $212-million expressway that is only a few weeks from completion. (Brookside Industrial Park West is sold out and an additional 40 hectares are being readied for the market.)

Scaletta said the industrial-park land was originally packaged and sold to Olexa in 2008 before the creation of CentrePort and right when a global recession was taking hold.

"There were no sales at all during the first year," Scaletta said.

Since then, about two dozen companies have located there, many in the transportation and distribution sector. Out of 60 hectares in the original property, Scaletta has only eight hectares left to sell in the Brookside Business Park.

The developers had originally expected to have sewer and water servicing on the site by 2014. But because of significant complexities experienced by the city -- in particular a legal challenge regarding its ability to service land outside the City of Winnipeg (in this case, the RM of Rosser) -- an alternative water source and treatment plan is now in place.

Gray said that process should mean servicing will be ready by the end of 2015.

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 22, 2013 B5

Planners lose on subdivision

City panel OK's big new project on Jefferson

Mayor Sam Katz and his executive committee overrode recommendations from the planning department and gave the go-ahead Wednesday for a massive new residential subdivision in the city's northwest corner.

During a three-hour-plus hearing, the senior committee listened to the recommendations and arguments from its planning staff and counter-positions from Terracon Development Ltd., which is planning to build a 593-unit subdivision on a 30-hectare site at the southwest corner of Jefferson Avenue and King Edward Street, to be known as Castlebury Meadows.

While city planners and Terracon agreed on most issues surrounding the subdivision, Terracon was concerned the planner's recommendations for the outstanding points would halt the project.

"I think the committee heard our side of the argument," Michael Falk, Terracon's development manager, said after the committee meeting. "Certainly, public works and the city administration had some valid points and we reached a balance."

The sticking points in the project included the planning department's recommendations that Terracon be solely responsible for upgrades to existing roadways, credit for unusable green space as parkland, the construction of a noise-attenuation barrier along the path of a proposed Chief Peguis Trail extension and widening a roadway through the heart of the project to accommodate Winnipeg Transit vehicles.

Falk said the conditions the city planners required would be cost-prohibitive, forcing Terracon to increase the price of homes from $300,000 to more than $600,000, making the project economically unfeasible.

After a break, the committee unanimously approved the project, with a series of amendments put forward by Coun. Russ Wyatt.

The package of rezoning amendments must get approval by city council, which is expected at its meeting later this month.

Falk said he expected construction would start by March next year.

The subdivision would include 226 single-family homes, 168 duplex units and 199 apartment units.

Falk said city staff knew nothing about the requirements for properly building a noise-attenuation barrier, adding building it now, before the expressway extension is built, would be a waste of money.

"We know the right way to do it," Falk said.

He also criticized the planning department's requirement that Terracon build at least one road through its project wide enough to accommodate Transit buses.

"I don't want to put (a bus route) through the middle of the development," he said.

On the cost of road upgrades, Falk said his company should only be required to pay 50 per cent of any needed improvements to roadways fronting its property.

City staff said it's estimated the new subdivision would result in the number of vehicles using existing roads increasing to more than 7,000 daily from 1,000, adding since Terracon was responsible for that increase, the company should cover the entire cost.

The Terracon project was also criticized by another development firm, which said Terracon's population figures were too low and its proposed playing field for the site inadequate.

David Palubeski, whose Lombard North firm built the nearby Waterford Green subdivision, said Terracon was projecting a subdivision population of about 1,200 to 1,400 residents, but Lombard's experience shows the more realistic figure would be more than 2,000 residents.

Palubeski said the playing field Terracon was proposing was too small for the number of people who would be living in Castlebury Meadows, adding those residents would rely on adjacent sport fields.

City parks officials said they conceded Terracon's playing field was too small. They said Terracon claimed it couldn't build a larger field based on the subdivision's configuration.

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 3, 2013 B1

Committee dismisses recommendations in approving new subdivision

Mayor Sam Katz and his executive committee this morning dismissed recommendations from the planning department and gave the go-ahead for a massive new residential subdivision in the city’s northwest corner.

During a three-hour-plus hearing, the senior committee listened to the recommendations and arguments from its planning staff and counter-positions from Terracon Developments, which is planning to build a 593-unit subdivision on a 74-acre site at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and King Edward Street, to be known as Castlebury Meadows.

While city planners and Terracon agreed on most issues surrounding the subdivision, Terracon was concerned that the planner’s recommendations for the outstanding concerns would halt the project.

"I think the committee heard our side of the argument," Michael Falk, Terracon’s development manager, said following the committee meeting. "Certainly public works and the city administration had some valid points and we reached a balance."

The sticking points in the project were the recommendations that: Terracon be solely responsible for upgrades to existing roadways; credit for non-usable green space as park land; the construction of a noise attenuation barrier along the path of a proposed Chief Peguis Trail extension; and widening a roadway through the heart of the project to accommodate transit vehicles.

Falk said the conditions required by city planners would be cost prohibitive, forcing Terracon to increase the price of homes from $300,000 to over $600,000, making the project economically unfeasible.

Following a break, the committee unanimously approved the project with a series of amendments put forward by Coun. Russ Wyatt.

Terracon’s head office is in Wyatt’s Transcona ward.

Falk said he expected construction would start by March.

The subdivision would include 226 single family homes, 168 duplex units, and 199 apartment units.

Falk said that city staff knew nothing about the requirements for properly building a noise attenuation barrier and said building it now, before the expressway was constructed, would be a complete waste of money.

"We know the right way to do it," Falk said.

Falk was also critical of planning’s requirement that Terracon build at least one road through its project wide enough to accommodate Transit buses.

"I don’t want to put (a bus route) through the middle of the development," Falk said.

On the cost of the road upgrades, Falk said his company should only be required to pay 50 per cent of any needed upgrades for roadways fronting on its property.

City staff said it’s estimated that project would result in the number of vehicles using existing roads would increase from 1,000 to over 7,000 daily, adding that since Terracon was responsible for that increase, the company should cover the entire costs.

The Terracon project was also criticized by another development firm, which said Terracon’s population figures were too low and its proposed playing field for the site inadequate.

David Palubeski, whose firm Lombard North built the nearby Waterford Green subdivision, said Terracon was projecting a subdivision population of about 1,200-1,400 residents but in its experience the more realistic figure would be more than 2,000 residents.

Palubeski said the playing field Terracon was proposing was too small for the number of people who would be living in Castlebury Meadows, adding those residents would then rely on adjacent sport fields.

City parks officials said they conceded Terracon’s playing field was too small, but added that Terracon claimed it couldn’t build a larger field based on the configuration of its subdivision.

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