Investment firm Slate acquires 800 acres of Hamilton’s industrial land to develop industrial park

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A large piece of Hamilton’s industrial lands, under a holding provision by city council, has been acquired by an investment firm planning to develop a world-class industrial park.

Slate Asset Management is taking on some 800 acres of Stelco land and buildings deemed as surplus to execute a plan they say has potential to create up to 23,000 new jobs across the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area (GTHA) and inject up to $3.8 billion into Ontario’s economy based on an Ernst and Young study.

“Our vision is to restore this site to its highest potential, reimagining it as a world-class industrial park that will continue to play a crucial role in the economy of the city and our province long into the next century,” Blair Welch, founding partner at Slate told Global News.

Read more: Redevelopment of surplus Stelco lands in Hamilton takes first step

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A variety of transportation and shipping options for tenants is a major attraction for the spot with, access to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway, the U.S. land border, Ontario’s highway system, on-site rail connecting into Ontario’s greater Golden Horseshoe network, as well as nearby international airports in Hamilton and Toronto.

“When you think of a large industrial place, typically they would be on the outskirts. This one could be built right in the heart where everyone is among all the transportation hubs. So we think it’s going to be world class,” Welch said.

The 800 acres are also set for environmental protection and remediation which will see about 3,400 metres of waterfront along Lake Ontario reactivated.

About 725 acres is earmarked for industrial park development with zoning allowing for a range of industrial uses with potential to develop up to 12 million square feet.

Slate will lease back around 75 acres and 2 million square feet of buildings to Stelco over a 35-year term.

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Brady Welch, also a founding partner at Slate, says the project represents opportunity to reactivate a massively underutilized parcel of land that has “global industrial relevance.”

“I think it will provide local opportunities for companies, but also global companies that can access the community,” Welch said.

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“If you look at North America, there’s over 10 million people that live in the GTHA, top five in North America. So it’s going to attract companies with more of a global outlook.”

Mayor Fred Eisenberger supported the acquisition, praising the “sizable investment” in what is expected to be “an employment hub for the entire Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area for decades to come.”

Read more: Stelco’s industrial park vision requires servicing agreement with City of Hamilton

“We can’t wait to see these unique and iconic lands transform into a showcase job site of the future where we will create good-paying jobs, grow the economy, and protect and remediate Hamilton’s waterfront for the benefit of all,” Eisenberger said.

Hamilton’s planning committee voted to place a holding provision on the land in early April after Stelco identifed the area as surplus to its steelmaking operations.

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Warehouses, office space and salvage yards are among the other permitted future uses for the plot.

The property, north of Burlington Street and roughly between Sherman Avenue and Ottawa Street, has had more than 100 years of industrial use.

The two brothers from Aldershot, who’ve pursuited the idea of a local industrial park for around a decade, say public consultations will be in the opening stages of the plan along with continued dialaogue through muncipal and provincial governments.

“The more people we can get to have good ideas to make the site better, that’s a good thing,” said Brady.

“Building 12 million square feet doesn’t happen in six months. This is a long term investment on a world class site.”

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