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TD banking on Barrie 0

Bob Bruton

By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner

Submitted illustrationA look at the TD tech centre in the works for south-end Barrie.

Submitted illustrationA look at the TD tech centre in the works for south-end Barrie.

TD Bank Group plans to open a new $85-million technology and operations centre in south-Barrie on land it acquired almost two years ago.

Construction could begin next month on the one-storey, 180,000-square-foot building and be completed by late 2012.

"This is tremendous news for Barrie," Mayor Jeff Lehman said. "I think it's a sign of a few things. First, that a top employer and major financial institution is investing significantly in Barrie shows confidence in Barrie's economy and its workforce.

"Second, that Barrie is becoming a data-processing centre, and our work to grow new sectors of the economy is starting to show returns," he added. "Most importantly this means new, solid jobs for Barrie and that is very welcome news indeed."

It's not yet known how many people will be employed in the facility, or how many new jobs it will create. A TD official said a combination of new employees and those from other TD centres will probably work there.

But the commercial tax on this property, which goes to the city, will be about $2.7 million yearly.

TD Bank bought 37 acres of privately owned land on the east side of Veteran's Drive, south of Mapleview Drive West, in March 2009. It's zoned commercial-industrial and valued at approximately $9 million.

"It (TD) had plans to build it right away," said Hany Kirolos, Barrie's director of strategy and economic development, "but because of the financial crisis, other plans took priority.

"For a global company to choose Barrie for its owth validates a lot of this (work). It shows confidence in the Barrie economy," Kirolos added. "TD is expanding operations in the United States and in other countries."

TD's Kevin Kessinger said Barrie has all the right elements the bank sought for a new centre.

"Barrie is a dynamic city that offers a perfect mix of location, accessible technology and future growth for us to invest in," he said. "This is the ideal space for us to build our unique, state-of-the- art facility, and we look forward to its creation over the next three years."

A public meeting at Monday's general committee of city council meeting deals with a rezoning application by TD at 625 Veteran's Dr.

It asks for a site-specific rezoning to permit 84 instead of the 263 parking spaces required on the property.

The building will be designed and constructed to meet requirements of the Canadian Green Building Council's LEED program, which will result in a net zero energy use for the office-administration component of the building.

The centre will house a number of TD's core technology operations, such as power capacity.

Bank of Montreal (BMO) has already set up shop in the city's south end. BMO began buying land there in the fall of 2004, eventually acquiring about 31 acres in the Caplan Avenue/Veteran's Drive area.

There it built a large data centre, with a dual computer centre, which has the capacity to employ about 600 people.

bbruton@thebarrieexaminer.com


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