City Council has voted unanimously to support Edmonton Metro Region, a proposed initiative that would help grow and attract new investments to the area. The City of Edmonton has already committed up to $400,000 to the project and joins St. Albert, Leduc County, Parkland County and Strathcona County.
While it has yet to be officially formed, the region already has a few good reasons to celebrate:
- Champion Petfoods just announced they will be building a 400,000 square foot facility in Acheson, which will be set to open in 2019. This is a true win for the region as the company will be adding this facility to their existing operations in Morinville. It’s expected to add 200 jobs.
- Ford also announced they will be constructing a new 400,000 square foot distribution centre in Leduc, set to open in later 2018. Notwithstanding the construction activity, this move is expected to be job neutral.
- Aurora Cannabis is expecting to open its 800,000 square foot facility in Leduc in late 2017. The company operates a facility near Calgary so this will bring new jobs and construction to the region.
- The new mall at the airport, which will be known as the Premium Outlet Collection will also be approximately 580,000 square feet and is set to open in 2018.
While we were not privy to any of the internal decision making on why Champion Petfoods chose Acheson or why Ford chose Leduc, we suspect that during their site selection process they at least considered options in Edmonton. It’s purely speculative, but we think the City of Edmonton’s high mill rate played a factor in all of these decisions. The 2017 mill rate in the County of Leduc is 10.59 for 2017 and 20.7616 in Edmonton. Assuming the property get assessed around $100 / sq ft (which is a complete stab in the dark), it would mean savings of $400,000 in yearly taxes for Ford. The decision could also have been a function of limited options and less expensive land in the surrounding markets, but the outcome is an undeniable loss for the City of Edmonton.
On the positive side, they are all staying and investing in the region. As highlighted in the Edmonton Metro Panel report, there is an appetite for “creating a resilient, future-ready Edmonton Metro Region”.
After a bleak couple of years, the future is indeed looking pretty positive.