A parts warehouse and distribution centre Ford Motor Co. plans to build in Leduc could spur other development in the Edmonton region, Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke says.
About 70 people will be employed at the site after it opens at the Leduc Business Park in fall 2018, with construction expected to start in approximately six weeks, Krischke said Wednesday.
“We were one of several candidates, but our region is kind of a perfect storm. We have the airport on our doorstep, we’re on the Canamex Highway, QEII, second-busiest corridor in the nation,” he said.
“We have a very vibrant Leduc-Nisku business park, the second-largest energy park in North America.”
The new facility will replace the existing parts and distribution centre in northwest Edmonton, which the company has outgrown, and no new jobs are being created, Ford spokeswoman Michelle Lee-Gracey said in an email.
At 37,000 square metres, it will have almost double the existing space and be more efficient, featuring a state-of-the-art gym, an open concept and LED lighting, she said.
The outlet is one of two Ford distribution centres in Canada, supplying parts to Ford and Lincoln dealers in Western Canada. The other is in Bramalea, Ont.
Mark Ballantyne, president of Unifor local 1087 that represents the Edmonton workers, said the company has been looking for a new location for years because it doesn’t have room to expand at the current site.
Although he faces a longer commute from his St. Albert home, he’s happy Ford decided to stay in the region.
“It’s definitely good for us. No one’s losing their jobs, we’re just moving to a bigger facility, which makes it easier for us to grow in the future … Ford is here to stay.”
Krischke said officials worked on the project for eight months, but the city didn’t provide any grants or other inducements.
“Alberta has natural advantages of no sales tax. Although there have been some increases in taxes from the provincial government, we’re still an attractive jurisdiction.”
He thinks the new building will stimulate investment interest across the Edmonton area.
“When a major player like Ford feels this is the best place for them to locate, it will be a catalyst for other businesses … to say, ‘Maybe we should be looking at this region,’ ” he said.
“It doesn’t have to be in the sub-region of Leduc. We’re happy to have anything that comes into the Edmonton metro region. If this stimulates discussion or thought about businesses or industries coming into the region, we all benefit.”