On Thursday, November 8, I joined more than 200 industrial, commercial developers and real estate brokers from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), regional and local municipal elected officials and staff for the fourth annual Halton Real Estate Forum. Held at the Teatro Conference and Event Centre in Milton, the Forum provided an opportunity for participants to hear an update on the industrial and commercial real estate market in Halton and the GTA.
The Forum was presented by Halton Region Economic Development in partnership with the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) and the economic development offices of the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton and the Town of Oakville.
Halton Region has experienced strong population and business growth over the past several years. Our Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan provides direction for future economic development so we can ensure business growth continues. The well-attended Forum was successful in further building awareness of Halton as a location of choice for business investment and reinforced the Region’s many strengths. In fact, a key message voiced by the speakers was that Halton is indeed a location of choice – a great place to live and work and definitely on the radar screen for forward thinking businesses.
In his opening remarks, Halton’s Economic Development Director, John Davidson, touched on the Halton Region Economic Development Strategy for 2012-2021, provided an overview of trends in the commercial and industrial real estate market in Halton and announced the launch of the Region’s new Halton Data Centre.
Keynote speaker Sheila Botting, Partner & National Leader, Deloitte Real Estate, talked about demographics, productivity and how the real estate game is changing, noting that “Commercial real estate can be a catalyst for growth in our economy.”
Office panelists John Arnoldi (Colliers International), Dave Carreiro (First Gulf Corporation) and Chris Holtved (Pauls Properties Corp.) along with Wayne Walton (Sun Life Financial), Ken Nevar (Cooper Construction) and John McCall (Oxford Properties Group) all said that Halton is a big part of their respective businesses, agreeing that land availability is higher and operating costs and taxes are lower than other areas.
“Halton is at the stage of its development where it has hit escape velocity…Like tenants want to be near like tenants – we are seeing that with financial and professional services companies such as Siemens, Canadian Tire Financial Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers, all choosing Halton.” Chris Holtved
“Halton is a hotspot for business investment.” John Arnoldi
“Halton is also uniquely positioned to attract large industrial development by virtual of its location near major transportation corridors and the availability of serviced industrial land as evidenced by the recent Target and First Gulf/Sun Life Financial developments.” Ken Nevar
As I listened to Ms. Botting and our other speakers, I was reminded of the words of Franz Kafka, the renowned Czech-born writer, who once wrote, “Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” The opportunities here in Halton are endless. More and more companies are finding new ways to capitalize on Halton’s many advantages to bring innovative products and services to market. Halton Region truly is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.
To learn more about Economic Development in Halton Region, dial 311, 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866, TTY 905-827-9833 or visit www.halton.ca/business. You can find Halton Small Business on Facebook and on Twitter @HaltonEcDev, as well as Halton Tourism on Facebook and on Twitter.
As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”