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Big demand anticipated as plans for Fergus business park take shape

Lots at the site expected to sell out within two years of hitting the market
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The township purchased this 58 are parcel of land at 6518 1st Line in Fergus in 2020 to host the area's first business park.

Lots at Centre Wellington’s planned 58 acre business park are expected to sell out within two years of hitting the market, say consultants hired by the township to create a strategic plan for the site. 

Brett Salmon, Centre Wellington managing director of planning and development, presented the report by McSweeney and Associates to the township’s economic development task force Thursday.

Salmon explained demand for business/industrial land in the Wellington-Guelph-Kitchener-Waterloo area is high, while supply remains tight and prices are escalating rapidly. 

“McSweeney felt very strongly that the market potential for this land was strong because other places are running out of land that they have available,” Salmon said. “And the land itself in some of the bigger centres is getting quite costly.”

Based on the value of recent land sales in the area, the report found that serviced land in the business park could conservatively have a market value of $200,000-250,000 per acre. But as Salmon noted, “that’s a number that seems to be increasing every day.”

McSweeney envisions the business park as “somewhat upscale” from other industrial developments in the area. Target users would be businesses, typically manufacturers, looking for buildings between 10,000 to 50,000 square feet. Retail and other public-serving type uses would be not included.

The consultants see specific opportunity to attract tenants in five key sectors: food and beverage manufacturing; equipment, metalworking and machinery manufacturing; organic and chemical manufacturing; professional services — like computer systems, design, and architectural/engineering services; and information and cultural industries — such as motion picture and video studios, and software industries. 

The report received an enthusiastic reception from the task force. 

“I just think this is wonderful because I get calls just about every week (from) somebody wanting to start a business,” Rick Whittaker, general manager of Wellington-Waterloo Community Futures said. “And we lose a lot of businesses that we fund as startups to Guelph because there’s no place for them.”

Mayor Kelly Linton said he was excited for the new jobs and investments the park would bring to Centre Wellington. He thanked the task force for their work on the project that began in 2015. 

“We’ve had to drag people along kicking and screaming. It hasn’t been easy,” he said. “And we’re right at the cusp of doing something really special and something really bright.”

Centre Wellington council will vote on the business park strategic plan at their next regular meeting on July 26.

George Borovilos, Centre Wellington’s newly appointed Manager of Economic Development told GuelphToday pending the planning process, the township hopes to begin servicing the business park site this fall. Lots are expected to be for sale by early 2022, meaning the first businesses could potentially open in the area toward the end of 2022, he explained.  

While it’s too early to estimate how many jobs the business park might generate, Borovilos said due to what economists call “the multiplier effect,” the venture could create employment in other areas of the community as well, as additional businesses develop to service companies at the park.



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Alison Sandstrom

About the Author: Alison Sandstrom

Alison Sandstrom covers civic issues in Wellington County under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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