Moncton shatters building permit record!

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Year end figures show that the City of Moncton set an all time record for the value of building permits issued in 2002. Total value of $144,789,526 smashes the previous record of $107 million set in 1995, in fact it eclipses the previous two years combined.

Did we have a great year, we sure did.

Leading the way at $69 million was residential construction which saw the addition of housing in just about every category from modest single family to high-end condominiums and new apartment buildings.

The commercial sector came next at $57 million. This covers major new investments such as a giant 131,000 sq. ft WalMart. More than 2 1/2 times larger than any other WalMart in the province this new mega store offers more than 80,000 products along with various special services. Currently under construction is a new 100,000 sq.ft Home Depot that will be opening its doors this April. The once CN Shops property has been brought back to life. Not only has a large segment of the property been redeveloped into a combination of soccer and baseball fields but it is the home of the new 4-ice rink complex.

In another section of the former CN site is the Emmerson Business Technology Park. Taking advantage of the green space of the sport fields, this park will complement the area. First in, is a new office centre being constructed by Giffels Enterprises Inc. Upon completion this spring, the first tenant in this new facility will be AOL Canada which will open its doors with an expected 250 employees with more to come. The new call centre will serve clients of the Internet service provider across the country. Employees at the centre will be involved in sales, service, billing, technical support and other aspects of the company's operation.

"We have about half a million AOL members in Canada and it's important that when they call they get good service in the language of their choice," Alex Kroon, senior director of operations for AOL Canada, told a news conference in Moncton. "New Brunswick has distinguished itself as a leading Canadian location for contact centre operations. AOL Canada believes the best, most experienced bilingual talent is already in the province, so we will continue to operate our member services group from this location."

Early in the year, Rogers Communications opened its new customer contact centre in their new building in downtown Moncton. At full operation this new facility is expected to employ 700 people. This new centre provides technical support for Rogers customers who use wireless data, high-speed internet and digital cable products and services.

On the industrial front, new construction was also seen in both of Moncton's industrial parks. In Caledonia Industrial Estates, Kraft Canada moved into their new distribution centre and just down the road, Armada Enterprises built a new multi-tenant building. Spielo Gaming, following the retrofit of an existing building, moved their operations into Caledonia. Whitehill Technologies added 8,000 sq,ft to their building providing lots of room to add new programmers to their growing company. In the Moncton Industrial Park, Armour Logistics opened an additional 100,000 sq.ft to their warehousing facility bringing the total size of the building up to 240,000 sq.ft, the largest single floor warehouse in the region.

Moncton in 2002 could be said to be "firing on all cylinders". Whether it was in the industrial, commercial, residential or institutional sector, there was considerable new growth. And the trend is expected to continue in 2003, stay tuned.