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Hamilton Economic Development on target to meet aggressive targets

Hamilton Economic Development on target to meet aggressive targets

Hamilton has made significant progress in achieving some of its more ambitious economic development targets according to a report from the Director of Economic Development, Norm Schleehahn. Called “stretch” targets these targets are so named because they are specific and aggressive objectives that cannot be realized by increments or small improvements.

Following is a partial list of the targets and the progress made

Stretch TargetsFive Year Cumulative Performance (2016-2020)
Increase Hamilton’s shovel-ready land supply by 500 acresOver 500 acres of shovel-ready land were added to the industrial land supply over the past five years.
Add seven million square feet of new Industrial/Commercial space   Add the following new major economic development assets:   A manufacturing incubation spaceAs of November 30, 2020, 6,827,000 square feet of new commercial and industrial product had been constructed over the last 5 years. This total does not take into account new buildings constructed at John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport and the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority, which when included, would surpass the 7,000,000 square foot target.   Innovation Factory, The Forge and the Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility expanded into a 10,000 square foot collaborative space at McMaster Innovation Park named “The Garage”.
Have ten local companies on the PROFIT Magazine “Fastest Growing Businesses” listThe “Hamilton Fast 40” program was successful in raising the profile of fast-growing Hamilton based businesses and helped encourage those businesses to apply for national honours in this prestigious publication.   This Stretch Target was Achieved in 2018 when 12 Hamilton companies were listed in Canadian Business Magazine’s (the renamed PROFIT Magazine) “Fastest Growing Businesses” list. The large increase from 2017’s four companies was a direct result of outreach to the inaugural Hamilton Fast 40 recipients (which was launched
 in 2018).
Attract five major events (like the JUNOs) that generate a total combined economic impact of at least $50 MSuccessfully secured eight major events: North American Indigenous Games 2017 (selected sports/cultural festival), Vanier Cup 2017, Canadian Country Music Week (2018 and 2020 (will be rescheduled)), the RBC Canadian Open (2019 and 2023) the 2021 Grey Cup and 2021 Kin Canada National Convention.
Achieve Intelligent Communities Forum Top 7 RankingThe City of Hamilton achieved global recognition as a Top 7 Intelligent Community twice over the past five years (2018 and 2020).

Stretch Targets Nearly Achieved

Stretch TargetsFive Year Cumulative Performance (2016-2020)
Generate a total of $2 B in Industrial and Commercial construction valueTOTAL – $1.663 M in estimated value ($820 M commercial, $843 M industrial). This total does not take into account the value of the of the new buildings constructed at John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport and the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority.
Add the following new major economic development assets:   A data centreOne data centre was established (and later closed due to merger/acquisition activities of the owner), and several investment inquiries have been fielded and are currently being pursued. The Economic Development Division also partnered with Computing Infrastructure Research Centre to conduct a feasibility study and held meetings with Hamilton’s public Chief Technology Officers, and public sector partners to assess co-location interest.
Add the following new major economic development assets:   A major film studioOn December 2, 2020, Aeon Studio Group announced the first step of their initial film investment business in Hamilton with an 80,000 square foot film studio to open February 2021 at 243 Queen Street North.
Add the following new major economic development assets:   An 800 to 1,200 seat multi-use performance centreThe New Vision Music Hall (a 600 to 1,100 seat music and live performance venue) is a community-led new performance venue that, when fully operational, will achieve this Stretch Target. The City of Hamilton provided the owners with funding to cover the cost of a feasibility study of converting the former church into a concert venue.   The City of Hamilton recently leased 125 Barton Street, to Sonic Unyon, which being converted to a multi-use performance centre called Bridgeworks. The capacity of
 this venue will be 500 once the work to renovate the space is complete and there are no COVID-19 restrictions.   Finally, as mentioned in previous annual updates, the McIntosh Performing Arts Centre at Mohawk College has become more generally available for booking an event hosting and has planned facility upgrades to further enhance its value as a venue.

Of the remaining four Stretch Targets, three have a final status of progressing as outlined in the chart below.

Stretch Targets that are Progressing
Stretch TargetsFive Year Cumulative Performance (2016-2020)
Extend regular HSR service (connected to the broader BLAST network) to the interior of the Red Hill, Flamborough and Stoney Creek Business Parks and offer 24/7 service to John C. Munro Hamilton International AirportInvestments made to-date through the 10-year local transit strategy have seen material increases in service frequency, with additional scheduled improvements postponed due to the global pandemic.
Reduce Hamilton’s office vacancy rate to 7%A total reduction of 2.02% to 11.8% has been achieved based on the reported vacancy rate of 13.82% in 2016.
Enhance Hamilton’s Image as a Digital City by enabling access to broadband internet speeds of:   250 megabit/second to all rural Hamilton   One gigabit/second to all urban Hamilton   10 gigabit/second to all of our business parks and major commercial areasThere has been material improvement seen in many parts of the City due to major investments, infrastructure upgrades and expanded product and service offerings from the incumbent telecommunication companies.   These collective improvements have resulted in a significant increase in the availability of high-speed internet for Hamilton businesses and residents, but they do not consistently reach the defined Stretch Target objectives for each of the targeted geographic areas.
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  • Given the pandemic, things are going to change in the future, so personally I’m not seeing a lot of vision.

    A total lack of looking at all things which also includes growing poverty, homelessness and lack of jobs and a lack of hope.

    Is it realistic to only have the corporate world making decisions that only the few will prosper while leaving so many behind?

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