Large tracts of industrial land are few and far between in the Greater Toronto Area, but Montreal-based developer Broccolini has acquired several development parcels in and around the region.
From an industrial development perspective, the boundaries of the GTA are expanding, notes Toni Wodzicki, director, real estate development at Broccolini.
“What were secondary markets or tertiary markets previously are becoming more core,” he told RENX.
Among the sites Broccolini has acquired is a 52-acre parcel of industrial development land in the Township of Puslinch, near Guelph. Close to Highway 401, it consists of 45 acres of zoned industrial land and seven acres zoned as natural environment.
Broccolini is planning a development of up to 700,000 square feet in either a single building or multiple buildings, for delivery at the end of 2023 or early 2024.
Puslinch a “great” logistics, distribution region
The site is well-suited for logistics or warehousing and construction would be on spec, he says. “We’re confident that if we build it, there’s ample demand.”
Broccolini purchased the site from a private seller and the deal closed in January.
Puslinch is “a great location for logistical and warehousing use. It has ample access to a great labour pool. It’s on the largest transportation artery in the province (and) is close to all of Ontario’s major urban markets.”
Wodzicki declined to provide development costs for the Puslinch site or other properties Broccolini has obtained. “We have seen probably 20 per cent increases in construction costs over the last two quarters. It’s hard to provide numbers.”
He notes tenants who would previously have set up industrial spaces only in Mississauga or Brampton are now looking farther afield to cities like Guelph and Cambridge.
It’s partly out of necessity but also because such markets are far more established, with the infrastructure and labour in place to support them. “It’s why you’re seeing more groups venture outside of the GTA.”
Acquisitions near Hamilton airport
In Hamilton, Broccolini has acquired 270 acres of land on Dickenson Road, with direct airside runway access to Hamilton’s John C. Munro International Airport and a maximum build of up to four million square feet.
Acquired in two private sales, the land offers a rare opportunity to accommodate a build-to-suit requirement for upwards of two million contiguous square feet, with numerous building sizes possible. With direct airside runway access, the lands are ideally suited to accommodate large freight-handling facilities.
Wodzicki says Hamilton has become a core market for industrial during the past three years and has seen “a significant influx of large, blue-chip tenants (because of its proximity to the GTA and American markets.
“We’re neighbours to the largest domestic overnight express cargo airport in Canada, so basically 24/7 freight is moving through there and our lands represent an opportunity to those companies and groups that want to benefit from that airside access.”
Given the capacity restraints of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, the volume of goods that move through the Hamilton airport will only increase, he says.
Construction at the airport site should start this year and the multi-phased development will likely take two to four years.
Major industrial project in St. Thomas
Last June, in a marketed sale brokered by CBRE, Broccolini acquired more than 600 acres in St. Thomas, near London. Once home to a Ford manufacturing facility that closed in 2011, the site had been on the market for several years.
A new facility is under construction for a large tenant. The building is now closed in and the interior fit-out is underway.
The balance of the St. Thomas property will be master-planned for development. It can accommodate multiple industrial uses and is not limited to logistics and distribution.
Caledon site along Hwy. 410
Broccolini has also acquired 92 acres of land at 12304 Heart Lake Rd. in Caledon, Ont., in the northern GTA. The site, fronting Highway 410, was acquired in a private sale.
“It represents one of the last large parcels within Caledon’s urban boundary for industrial development,” Wodzicki says.
The developer plans to deliver 500,000 square feet on the site by the end of 2023.
Several potential clients have facilities in nearby Brampton or Mississauga “but they’re out of space, so the logical most proximal location is Caledon,” Wodzicki says.
Caledon represents a “massive opportunity” for large-scale industrial development.
Other developers have built near Broccolini’s site in the last three years, including a nearly million-square-foot facility for UPS. “There’s ample developers who are all within the same node that are going to be delivering new-age industrial product to the market,” Wodzicki says.
Oshawa property and other sites
In a private sale, Broccolini closed at the end of 2021 on a 42-acre parcel of land at 1680 Thornton Rd. N. in Oshawa’s Northwood Business Park.
Broccolini is contemplating the development, on spec, of up to two industrial buildings totalling about 400,000 square feet for single- or multi-tenant uses.
Construction is slated to begin in 2023 at the site, which is less than seven minutes from Highway 407 and 10 minutes from Highway 401.
“For us it’s a great opportunity to provide development in relatively short order because the lands are zoned and serviced,” Wodzicki says.
Broccolini also has an industrial project in Cambridge that is kicking off this year and additional development sites in Whitby and Innisfil (just south of Barrie).