Moncton's Steady Drumbeat of 2005 Community Growth Announcements Building Momentum for Next Five Years

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Anyone living in the City of Moncton, during 2005, was constantly reminded of the steady growth in Moncton's economic momentum during the year.

A steady roll out of economic development announcements for the City was generated from several different sectors of the local economy and all combined to create a momentum of continuing growth.

Almost every month another announcement was made for projects either starting in 2005, or design plans were released by developers for major projects that were well into the planning stages, when announced for completion in subsequent years.

By the end of 2005, the local commercial real estate market participants and members of Moncton's busy construction trades were enjoying a strong momentum of new business growth to carry them over into the new year and beyond.

While Moncton did not post a record shattering year in terms of building permits as in some previous years, or a mega project announcement such as the Irving Personal Care Products manufacturing plant of two years ago, Moncton did see the ground breaking ceremony and rapid rise of the new Molson's brewing plant. This plant to employ 60 plus employees in a high tech brewing manufacturing plant began taking shape along the Trans Canada Highway in Caledonia Industrial Estates, scheduled for full operation in 2007.

The Irving Personal Care plant, announced in 2003, started ramping up for full production in late 2004. According to Statistics Canada, for the year 2004, this helped to push Moncton into the category of an employment centre based on manufacturing jobs, over service sector job numbers.

The addition of Molson's manufacturing production jobs in 2007, combined with the new Shur-Gain plant's manufacturing jobs for animal and aqua-culture food pellet production that came online in 2005, are helping to further establish Moncton, as a manufacturing centre for the Atlantic region.

From food ingredients to consumer baked goods to high end electronics and fabricated product components, Moncton is recognized as a significant manufacturing centre in eastern Canada, with much of its production of products directed to US and southern markets.

While Moncton remains a significant centre for call support and service industries, as of 2004, Statistics Canada ranks manufacturing as the leading industry sector for job numbers. The Molson plant construction launch in 2005 put Moncton as a manufacturing centre well into this desirable economic sector category and most of these jobs are located in Moncton's two industrial parks.

As the year progressed there was a continuing roll out of economic good news development and project announcements that contributed to the perception that Moncton was on another growth roll for the second half of the decade.

The announced intentions of developers to add more projects and the positive tone set a solid platform of growth projects for the next two to three years according to commercial sales agents close to the business, industrial and commercial real estate markets.

"We are seeing the impact of these new full time jobs in the manufacturing sector in our real estate markets in Moncton", says Carla Bouchard, of Royal LePage Realty Experts, a large sales agency in Moncton's booming residential marketplace.

"Where in previous years, we might have a couple qualifying for a mortgage who tell us that they are both working in a major call centre, increasingly we see references to employment in Moncton's industrial parks as technicians with significant salary levels operating within a type of manufacturing plant", says Bouchard.

Moncton is also demonstrating a wide range of employment sectors in the applications for mortgages and the growth in residential sales in construction of new homes in the City, explains Bouchard.

Bouchard sees the disposal income levels of the Moncton workforce coming through her door to purchase homes and she attributes the strong employment economy enjoyed in 2005, as the major force driving the continuing expansion of the City's retail shopping centres and specialty boutiques.

This theme of steady growth in all sectors of the economy during 2005 is echoed by Ian Franklin, VP of Sales for Cushman Wakefield LePage Commercial real estate. He enumerates a number of positive developments and projects around the City's Industrial Parks and along Main Street and Mountain Road in the retail and office space sectors.

"Moncton in 2005, was not what I call a boom year, but it is definitely a growth year. The positive tone of announcements for projects that are under planning and development created a strong positive momentum for the year", says Franklin.

"I have been working in commercial real estate in Moncton over the past 25 years and it just keeps getting better and better, with more projects and more players entering the local market every year".

"As a result we have a pool of talent and capital investors who are making projects happen in anticipation of the outcome of the steady job creation and the in-migration of new workers into the area to take those jobs", says Franklin.

The provincial and federal government have been strong in their support of this market and the mood among private industry developers is always cautious, but major projects are being discussed and there is a general knowledge in the community that big things are coming together to spur even more growth in the area, according to Franklin.

A survey of opinions among key players in the residential and commercial real estate market in Moncton all agree on one common factor. It is not just one big announcement that creates the positive climate for investment and expansion, it is the steady trickle of announcements, for both big projects and small that keep the positive mood for investment and expansion going in Moncton.

April, 2006