SITE REQUIREMENTS AND PROFILES
Complex site requirements frequently occur in a market driven by specific demands. Industrial users not only consider requirements (e.g., zoning restrictions, availability of services, transportation facilities and physical topography), but also factors extending to the community, regional and sometimes provincial perspective. Community profiling can be one of the highest priorities in industrial strategic planning leading to the opening or relocating of an industrial facility.
Industrial specialists, when assessing sites, rarely use a standard checklist of needs, given the wide diversity of user requirements. Needs vary significantly dependent on whether the user specialized in service, manufacturing or warehouse facilities. Industrial users are faced with various situation not commonly addressed in other commercial acquisitions. For example, a large manufacturing facility may have to assess water demand, waste water generation, treatment of contaminants, storage and disposal of solid wastes, and special considerations regarding air pollutants.
Industrial registrants routinely access community profile information when analyzing client needs. Labour intensive industrial uses require information concerning wage levels, availability of appropriate skilled labour, training facilities and public transportation access to the site. Local economic development offices provide detailed information on census and demographics, labor statistics, private employers, transportation, quality of life issues, financial services and real estate profiles (including residential).
Sourcing Industrial Information
A great starting point for community profile and related statistical/summary data is the Ontario Investment Service website administered by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre, and the Ontario Real Estate Association. This website provides provincial overviews concentrating on market profiles, labour force, education, transportation, utilities, international trade and quality of life. Economic development offices can be accessed to furnish information concerning local communities; census and demographic details, wage rates and labour availability, transportation facilities, financial services, tax information, quality of life indicators and real estate profiles including typical costs and range of housing choices. The scope of data available from economic development offices is located in a subsequent chapter.
The Ontario Real Estate Association operates a property search facility for investors in industrial, reatial, office and vacant land.
Startegis is an Internet initiative launched by the Canadian government that provides both business and consumer online resources. For registrants, Strategis offers a wide range of business information and more particularly, profiles regarding industries throughout Canada. Industries are grouped based on similar characteristics using NAICS categorization system.
Registrants who become members of organized real estate will have additional resources concerning available industrial space through the local Multiple Listing Service. Larger real estate boards have separate commercial divisions specifically focused on the needs of registrants involved with commercial sales.
The availability of industrial space, while ultimately driven by demand, depends largely on three factors:
· Industrial land acquisition and retention is frequently driven by economic development commissions within local or regional areas. Purchases by the municipality assure future availability while providing a measure of control over types of industry that will occupy developed sites.
· Zoning requirements define the scope and mix of industrial activities and encourage compatible uses within areas. Zoning also sets out specific areas for needed but often undesirable, uses that can involve fumes, noise, vibrations or extensive outside storage; e.g., wrecking yards, raw material processing and waste or by-product processing. Zoning requirements also typically detail height and size limitations and, sometimes, industrial density (intensity) requirements.
· Industrial site availability and expansion are tied to the construction of servicing extensions to raw industrial lands. Capital improvement funding by the local government is required to expand water, sewer and transportation links.