The anchor tenant of a 112,000-square-foot industrial facility expected to open in the city’s south end next fall is looking forward to the next stage of its growth, says the man who started Kawartha Metals in his Bewdley garage in 1994.
“The idea is to create more efficiency,” company founder Tom Elliott said after Wednesday’s announcement about the Peterborough Industrial Centre, which will be built on nine acres at 1961 Fisher Dr. in the Major Bennett Industrial Park.
Ground is expected to be broken in the spring, said centre co-owner Ted Ward-Griffin.
The move will consolidate Kawartha Metals’ two locations into one – 65,000 square feet that will allow it to expand its range of metal products and provide custom cutting, drilling and plasma services to its growing client base, Elliott said.
The company has outgrown its current locations, including a site on Harper Rd. where it expanded to in 2006, as it has experienced about 10 per cent of growth annually as it continues to find new markets, he explained.
It will be the customers who ultimately benefit as Kawartha Metals adds equipment allowing it to bolster its product line, Elliott said. It has clients in Peterborough, Toronto, Ottawa and as far away as North Bay and New York state.
When he first opened the business, its slogan was “The Candy Store for Welders.” Since then, it has grown to employ more than 30 people. The move will see that number quickly grow to about 40, with more staff growth expected beyond that.
“Every step is a big step in the business world,” Elliott said, praising his staff for their role in the success of the company. “I’ve got a great team that helps make it all work.”
Kawartha Metals supports the local supply chain, relying on the local manufacturing base, and hopes to play a role in bringing more industry to the city, he added.
Ward-Griffin, who grew up in Peterborough and recently moved to north of Havelock, said he is excited about what is happening in the city, as companies from Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area look for more-affordable options further out.
The extension of Highway 407 to Highway 35/115 and the quality of life and affordable living Peterborough offers are big parts of the incentive.
“That’s really what made Peterborough appealing for us,” he said, noting how the centre will provide easy access to Highway 7/115 and nearby Peterborough Airport.
Its modern, professional appearance is also going to appeal to companies “looking for a building to match their corporate image,” Ward-Griffin pointed out, adding how its energy-efficient design, including high bay lighting, will also give them lower operating costs.
The centre, which will have space for up to four tenants with unit sizes ranging from 15,000 to 47,000 square feet, has been in the works for about eight months, he said. The ownership group has completed similar projects in southwestern Ontario, with this its first in Peterborough.
The site, which will be across the street from the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board Education Centre, will be constructed by Brantford-based Vicano Construction Ltd. Among the company’s projects is the sleek redevelopment of the former Brantford Expositor building.
Construction is expected to begin in earnest next summer with tenants taking occupants late next fall and the spring of 2018.
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