January 28, 2022 (3 Minute Read)
Brampton’s downtown innovation district will soon have a new corporate resident, Rogers’s Communications. In a landmark development announcement, Rogers opted Brampton’s downtown to relocate their offices, with the focus to maintain and attract top talent in the technology sector.
In a letter to City Council Wednesday, Rogers’ Vice President of Corporate Real Estate John Mallovy outlined the tech giant’s plans to invest more that $100 million in a “state-of-the-art, transit-oriented Brampton campus” located on the block bound by Railroad St, Elizabeth Street N., Nelson Street W., and George Street N.
“COVID-19 has accelerated changes in the way we work by decades,” John Mallovy said in a delegation to City Council on Wednesday. “The demand for technology employees is exploding and the battle to attract and retain the brightest and the best will increasingly be more and more intense.”
“We believe Brampton has been and will continue to be a good place to recruit these employees.”
“It’s transformative for our downtown– Mayor Brown
The campus is set to have a minimum of 200,000 square feet of office and retail space, with opportunities for additional office and residential spaces that could be later added in phases. Rogers says the readily available public transit and being located along the Toronto-Brampton-Waterloo innovation corridor will allow its catchment of top employee talent to be significantly increased.
Initially, 3,000 Rogers’ employees will locate downtown. This is welcome news for local restaurants and shops.
“This is incredible news for our city,” Mayor Patrick Brown said during the Council meeting. “It’s going to have a spin-off effect across the downtown so I cannot understate how significant this is.”
“It’s transformative for our downtown.”
Rogers is also looking to move forward on investment plans pertaining to their current location at 8200 Dixie Road. The site is a repurposed industrial building and according to the company “…underserves both the employees’ and company’s needs”. Under Rogers’ proposal, 8200 Dixie would see up to 1.2 million square feet of industrial logistics uses and up to 25 acres of additional residential development that could accommodate a range of housing types.
Two Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs) are required first from the province to allow the downtown and 8200 Dixie Road components to move forward. Three delegations were present Wednesday and were broadly in favour of the project.
Suzy Godefroy, speaking on behalf of Carrie Percival, Chair of the Downtown Brampton BIA said that “this is an incredible opportunity for our city” and that “we will see an increase in jobs and economic growth specifically for our downtown core.”
“The downtown BIA fully supports our Council to request an MZO from the province for this project.”
Rick Evans, an executive Member of the local organization New Brampton also spoke in support of the project to Council saying that “it is with excitement that the executive board of New Brampton endorse the proposal that Rogers has shared for their downtown campus and the redeployment of the Dixie Road lands.”
Sylvia Roberts, a local resident, also spoke to the project outlining a number of considerations Council should be aware of when determining its support of the MZO.
Members of Council also spoke in favour of the major downtown proposal.
“I look forward to seeing this happen in the Downtown core as one of the local Councillors,” said Councillor Rowena Santos.
“It’s an extremely exciting opportunity,” said Councillor Harkirat Singh. “I think it’ll have a huge impact for Brampton.”
Paul Vicente quotes, “The City is making great strides in its efforts to transform Downtown Brampton, with a vision focused on attracting people, post-secondary uses and innovation and technology…(with) the relocation of 3,000 employees, this campus will serve the long-term revitalization and economic success of the downtown.”
For Councillor Jeff Bowman’s part, he almost deflated the announcement with his focus on ensuring Metrolinx – a provincial transportation agency – received due process in that they currently own the downtown lands eyed by Rogers.
“I still don’t get how somebody can apply for a rezoning of someone else’s land,” said Bowman. “Like, what are we setting ourselves up for?”
Mayor Brown was quick to explain to Bowman of Metrolinx’s support for the project. “I did get a call from Phil Verster (CEO) of Metrolinx who expressed support for this project with Rogers, if that’s helpful Councillor Bowman.”
In the associated media release from the City, CAO David Barrick stated, “Through strategic investments and planning, we are signaling to our partners and our business community that we are serious about driving smart, sustainable and successful growth. We are so pleased Rogers recognizes this and is looking to join the transformative work underway in our downtown. Through this new development, we will be creating jobs, supporting our economic recovery and growth, and improving quality of life for the residents of Brampton.”
Council was unanimous in their support to request the provincial government consider the two required MZOs.