Moncton Posts another big year!

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It was a year of moderate expectations that delivered above and beyond. Looking back to 2009 when Moncton had an all time record value of building permits issued, it set a bar that was going to be tough to beat. It is still a bar on its own but while that record hasn't been broken as yet, we are getting closer. For 2013, Moncton had its second best year with $188 million dollars of building permits issued. It's not a record but second best is still pretty good.

But it's more than building permits, it's what they represent that really counts. Those permits each year reflect the continued confidence in this community, they reflect investment that creates jobs and inspires a positive outlook for the economy of this city. To reach that $188 million, it took a mix of small, medium and large projects. It can be someone building a new garage, another building a new house, a small business going on its own with its first building or a large company developing a very large distribution centre. It is residential housing, retail development, industrial development, new schools, new senior care housing and more.

The story behind the building permits is simple, it's a story of a community that continues to grow. It's a sign of a healthy and vibrant city that's getting better all the time. So exactly what has been built?

Downtown, a major redevelopment of an office building. Doesn't sound like much but it involved gutting the entire building down to its steel frame and starting fresh. It's a building that its owners promote as moving up to business class. It will be a first class space. In retail, new stores have opened and others expanded. Continuing this trend, it was recently announced that a new 50,000 sq. ft Cabelas store will anchor the Mapleton Crossing retail development. This will add to the ever growing retail area in Moncton's north end.

In Moncton's industrial parks, growth has been solid with new developments in both Caledonia Industrial Estates and Moncton Industrial Park West. In Caledonia, the single largest distribution centre in city is being built by Kent Building Supplies. At some 400,000 sq. ft situated on a 74 acre site, this new centre can't be missed as one passes by on the Trans Canada Highway. But that's not all, TriCan Tire is in the early stages of construction on its new distribution centre, also in Caledonia. At 100,000 sq. ft, it may not equate with Kent's but it is still a major facility and is being designed with future expansion in mind.

Caledonia Industrial Estates is on the north side of the city alongside the Trans Canada Highway. It has become a real destination for distribution and manufacturing. Companies include production operations such as Molson's brewery and Irving Personal Care's diaper plant. In distribution there are major facilities for Shoppers Drub Mart, Loblaw, CHEP Canada and McKesson Canada. But you don't have to be big to locate in Caledonia, there are many smaller operations established in the park. And the really good news is that there is plenty of room for new companies who come looking.

Moncton Industrial Park West is the newest addition to our industrial parks. Situated on the west side of the city, on the west side of the original Moncton Industrial Park, this new park has some 600 acres for future growth potential. Phase One of the development opened up 128 acres in late 2011. First in, was Action Car and Truck Accessories who took the corner spot right at the entry to the new park. In 2013, there were several new additions including Parts for Trucks, Atlantic Air Cooled Engines, Prism Construction and Larca Enviro.

It will take a while for the new park to match the original Moncton Industrial Park but that park has 50 years on it. In this new digital age, industrial parks still play an important role in the economy of a community. They provide jobs to thousands and tax base to the city and the province. Not everything can be delivered digitally and so distribution centres and transportation companies are critical. You can't make beer digitally or make virtual diapers, they need physical plants and that's where industrial parks come in.

Moncton is still the hub of the Maritimes and that hub still works. In this hub are two industrial parks with plenty of room to welcome new neighbours. They provide the room needed for manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors. And being in this hub, they are well located for those companies needing to get product in and get product out.

Those building permits may have come second to that record smashing year but they still mean this city is growing and its industrial parks are flourishing.

February 2014