The ‘Steel City’ of Hamilton, reinvented as a home to leading Canadian healthcare advancements, world class education, research and development is now positioned as a newly-identified ‘Anchor City’ for future growth, according to a report released by Colliers International.
“Hamilton is to Toronto what Milwaukee is to Chicago, with each city having very similar populations,” said Sydney Hamber, senior vice president at Colliers International in Burlington, ON. “With rising costs and infrastructure strains such as longer commute times associated with locating in large metropolitan areas, companies have the opportunity to locate in medium-sized cities like Hamilton, which have key attributes that make it very attractive,” he said.
The report identified Hamilton as an anchor city for future growth with five key attributes important to corporations to improve corporate balance sheets and attract and retain the best employees. “Over the past 25 years, Hamilton has been very impressive at reinventing itself. Today, it stands as one of the most attractive environments for various industries,” added Hamber.
“Compared to Toronto, our report identifies Hamilton as relatively lower in overall costs; it has highly skilled labour, redevelopment opportunities, much lower commute times and a full range of lifestyle amenities. Framed within these five attributes, Hamilton is further affirming itself as an opportune medium-sized anchor city,” he said.
The City has lower commercial and residential costs which are becoming increasingly valuable location determinants for companies. Competitive average rents, overall residential affordability, commercial taxes and development charges are all cost-related factors that are important for mid-sized anchor cities in attracting businesses. Hamilton also has an educated labour force as proximity to educated individuals, talented professionals and skilled workers within similar industries such as education and healthcare has become more essential as locational imperatives for companies.
“With new developments throughout the City, particularly in the downtown core, and a new operational GO station this summer, Hamilton is an ideal location for companies looking to expand or relocate. Hamilton is affordable not only in terms of overall operating cost, but also affordability for their employees in the residential market,” said Jason Thorne, General Manager, Planning and Economic Development at the City of Hamilton. “People and businesses are drawn to Hamilton for a whole variety of reasons – from our thriving arts and culture scene, job opportunities in Canada’s most diversified economy, and the chance to be part of an urban renaissance that is truly exciting,” added Thorne.
Upgrading current office stock, complemented by relocation incentives through government programs, assist and attracting companies looking for these amenities. Commute times and transportation availability have become prime benefit-drivers for midsized anchor cities. Primary commuter infrastructure such as access to roadways, highways, public transit and bikeways can give certain cities a measureable competitive advantage in attracting business.
This report also showed that companies have been putting increasing value on local amenities for employees when choosing a location to do business, as certain amenities are deemed important by the type of employees companies wish to attract. “A liveable city is more than just having a home and a backyard and in great communities, people are now fully engaging with their community. Today, it’s about having things to do and experience, places to do them and a decent climate in which to do them,” said Hamber.