Gravenhurst council has approved a proposal to move forward with the development of Industrial Drive that would increase the Town’s serviced industrial land offerings by up to 10 lots.
Andrew Stacey, Director of Infrastructure Services spoke to council during the latest Committee of the Whole meeting about this “exciting opportunity,” saying it is a “good news story all around.”
Currently Lot 17, Concession 5, is a municipally-owned lot with M3 zoning that is approximately 14 acres in size. The proposal will see nine lots serviced via a new municipal road, with one lot serviced off Industrial Drive. Lot sizes would be on average one acre in area, with allowable building foot-print areas ranging between 7,858 to 21,528 sq. ft. Lot sizes “were developed in response to known recent market demands, but could be merged and made larger should the market demand pivot.”
The intent is to develop the lots so they can be sold to businesses, create employment and taxation benefits for the community. Stacey told council the idea is that the lots will be “as turnkey as possible, fully-serviced, with a water main.”
In his report, Stacey said there had been “some external interest in purchasing this lot as a single parcel (or portion thereof) in the past, given its location to an already established industrial subdivision. Administration believes other more effective development opportunities exist for the site.”
The price tag to develop the land is hefty–that “very conservative cost” estimates are “close to $6 million which also includes a 15% contingency typical to the construction sector…once the detailed design is performed it is expected that the overall price would be reduced rather significantly.”
Council directed staff to develop a business plan and funding strategy for the project and then report to council.
Stacey said there is “grant funding available to offset costs” and that they will be researching and applying for money to assist with the cost of the new build.
Coun. Varney asked what types of businesses they hoped the lots would attract. Stacey said primarily “light industrial” and gave auto shops or boat works examples.
Coun. Morphy said she loved the idea but wanted to know if the lots would be leased, sold or rented. Stacey said they would be sold, as the Town “doesn’t want to be landlords.”
Mayor Heidi Lorenz said that she really liked the idea and appreciated that staff had “turned on a switch, found something creative to do with a piece of land that is just sitting there.”
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