News Local

City selling industrial land, again

Bob Bruton

By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner

Barrie City Hall Council Chamber

Barrie City Hall Council Chamber MARK WANZEL PHOTO

A Brampton shoe and foot care company wants to get a leg-up by buying city industrial land to build a light manufacturing and warehouse facility, with office space, in Barrie.

Moneysworth & Best wants to purchase 35 Reid Dr. for a 50,000-60,000 square foot building for packaging and distributing its shoe care products.

City councillors gave initial approval to the sale Monday, with no discussion.

Council will consider final approval Jan. 16.

The land sale totals $1.1 million, and it could create 10-30 jobs in Barrie.

Mayor Jeff Lehman has said the employment element is important to the city.

“The one thing I have heard since I got on council (2006) is why aren't there industrial jobs here, we don't have good jobs, we need to support our manufacturing,” he said.

“Manufacturing's been tough in Ontario. It's faced a lot of headwinds. For years it was the higher dollars and gloablization, then free trade and power prices more recently.”

Moneysworth develops, produces, distributes and markets in excess of 750 shoe and foot care products to more than 10,000 North American and international stores. Its annual sales are approximately $13 million.

This company has a Brampton head office and had been operating since 1986. The Barrie facility would be its second location.

Its plan is to develop the site in three phases of about 20,000 sq. ft. each time, and work would begin this year if council approves the sale.

The office space would be for marketing, sales and distributing its product line.

Aside from the sale price, the city would receive development charges on the full building of almost $1.67 million, and $72,600 annually in taxes.

Moneysworth is buying the property as-is, but the city would retain an easement over a stormwater drainage ditch.

The city would be able to buy back the land, at 90% of the price, should Moneysworth try to sell the land without building there.

If the sale goes through, it's the last available city-owned lot in the Mapleview West Business Park. Last year, the city sold almost 13 acres of land there.

“In 2016, the city sold almost all of its remaining industrial land,” Lehman said. “I've never seen that happen before, I've never seen us have bidding wars.

“Twice (last year) we had bidding wars where we had people who didn't get the piece (of land) come to council and say 'we really wanted this'. That's never happened before.”

In December, council gave final approval to sell 52-68 Rawson Ave. to Morriello Construction - which has a tenancy deal with Busch Systems, a 30-year city business which designs and manufactures waste recyclers.

Selling to Morriello so it can lease to Busch meant turning down another bid from RAM Iron & Metal, a Toronto-based scrap metal recycler.

Current staffing at Busch is 100, but the expansion is expected to add another 80-100 employees. Busch plans to grow its business by 300% during the next five years.

City staff have estimated the financial impact of a sale to Morriello at $1-$2.3 million, while it could be $802,000 to $1.1 million for RAM.

In January of 2016, council sold south-Barrie industrial land at 625 Welham Rd. to Innovative Automation, despite a plea from the other bidder, the Italian Bakery.

It's owners had already bought 173 Mapleview Dr. E., which is immediately adjacent to 625 Welham Rd., and wanted to develop a new bakery and restaurant, along with a complimentary food processing and manufacturing facility, on both parcels.

But council decided instead to sell the 4.15-acre parcel on the east side of Welham, just south of Mapleview Drive East, to Triangle Holdings, the property holding company of Innovative Automation, for $630,000. The deal would also mean $604,996 in development charges for the city and $34,225 in annual realty tax.

Innovative Automation has been in Barrie for 26 years, and makes automation equipment for its world-wide clients. It has annual sales of $24 million.

It employs 100 people, and the sale will create 11 new positions right away and an additional 30-35 engineering or skilled trades positions.

Innovative Automation has two Barrie plants – at 191 Saunders Rd., which it owns, and 41 Saunders Rd., which it rents.

The Welham Road purchase will allow the consolidation of both facilities – for greater operational efficiency and facilitate the company's growth in the 52,700-square-foot building.

Staff recommended the sale, as advanced manufacturing and skilled labour are economic priorities with the city. It would also mean greater immediate site use, is a suitable fit with the existing industrial landscape in that area and would aid growth in advanced manufacturing.


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