THE owner of an industrial park within the CentrePort footprint has as good a sense as anyone about the level of demand that exists for industrial land within the inland port.
So it's a vote of confidence in CentrePort Canada that the Alberta-based investor Olexa Developments is building a 44,000-square-foot multi-tenant industrial building in the Brookside Business Park before all the tenants have been identified.
Developers typically pre-lease more than 50 per cent for such a project before breaking ground.
It's the first build-to-lease building at CentrePort.
John Scaletta, manager of industrial properties at Shindico Inc. and the agent responsible for the development located north of Inkster Boulevard and west of Brookside Boulevard, said Olexa really does have faith in the project.
"That's why they're spending $4.8 million putting this new building up before it's fully leased up," he said.
Only one tenant has been lined up so far.
Houston-based Goodman Global Group, one of the largest manufacturers of residential and light commercial heating and air-conditioning products, has committed to 12,000 square feet of the space. It will be setting up a Canadian distribution centre.
Diane Gray, the CEO of CentrePort, said, "We get calls sometimes from interested parties asking to see potential sites for companies that want to be ready to move in six months. But there is so little inventory out there."
She said that's why the new build-to-lease project is good for the market.
Tenants in that industrial park and ones in the 67-hectare Brookside Industrial Park West south of Inkster Boulevard will have easy access to CentrePort Canada Way, the new $212-million expressway that is only a few weeks from completion. (Brookside Industrial Park West is sold out and an additional 40 hectares are being readied for the market.)
Scaletta said the industrial-park land was originally packaged and sold to Olexa in 2008 before the creation of CentrePort and right when a global recession was taking hold.
"There were no sales at all during the first year," Scaletta said.
Since then, about two dozen companies have located there, many in the transportation and distribution sector. Out of 60 hectares in the original property, Scaletta has only eight hectares left to sell in the Brookside Business Park.
The developers had originally expected to have sewer and water servicing on the site by 2014. But because of significant complexities experienced by the city -- in particular a legal challenge regarding its ability to service land outside the City of Winnipeg (in this case, the RM of Rosser) -- an alternative water source and treatment plan is now in place.
Gray said that process should mean servicing will be ready by the end of 2015.