Skip to content

Industrial activity explodes in 2009

Despite the economic downturn, the city had a banner year for industrial growth last year, issuing more than $41 million in building permits.

Despite the economic downturn, the city had a banner year for industrial growth last year, issuing more than $41 million in building permits.

New developments both in the Campbell and Riel business parks fuelled the growth and, with the opening of the northwest leg of Anthony Henday Drive in 2011, yet more businesses are looking at the city, officials say.

Larry Horncastle, director of economic development and tourism with the city, said last year was very busy and his office is seeing even more interest in St. Albert.

“2009 was a tough year, but we came through it pretty well on the investment side.”

The city’s numbers certainly bear that out, with a higher value of industrial building permits issued last year than the previous four combined.

Horncastle said the investments council made in the two business parks is now paying off.

“Over the last seven or eight years the city has invested heavily in developing Campbell Business Park and what we are seeing now is the result of that.”

Much of the value comes from big projects, like the Hole’s Enjoy Centre in South Riel and a 14-bay office condominium under construction in Campbell Park.

Both of those sites have, or will soon have, good access to the Anthony Henday and Horncastle said the ring road is a big reason for the interest in the community.

“It used to be St. Albert is too far away, but now we are hearing that St. Albert is right on our doorstep,” he said. “We didn’t move, but now the transportation networks are just so much easier.”

Mayor Nolan Crouse is thrilled to have the land available for businesses wanting to move to the community.

“Campbell Park South and Riel Park North are both available now and that is a really big deal.”

He said there are 68 vacant lots available in the city right now for commercial or industrial use, down from around 75 a year ago and many that became available this year are also now used up.

Crouse said the city is closing the gap on the city’s goal of a 80-20 residential to non-residential tax split, but residential growth can make that an uphill battle.

“It is probably allowing us to gain slightly, but having said that housing starts are also up and every time you build a house you move backwards on that.”

Slightly more than $80 million in residential permits went out last year, up from around $50 million in 2008, but still shy of the more than $100 million the city routinely did between 2005 and 2007.

The city also is looking to open up some industrial land in the annexed areas in an area designated a future study area.

Crouse said with more interest in the community it is going to be important to keep a focus on that plan.

“That is the whole notion behind the study areas on the west side and that is why we have to keep pushing that.”

Industrial Building Permits

2005 <br />$2,840,000<br />2006<br />$13,480,000 <br />2007<br />$7,904,000 <br />2008<br />$8,869,000 <br />2009<br />$41,548,000

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks