Ontario’s Investment Ready: Certified Site Program

By Marion Fantetti

Don’t miss this opportunity to market your industrial property – ideal to investment attraction!

Ontario’s Investment Ready: Certified Site Program is an investment attraction program that was launched by the Province in December 2013.  This program aims to identify, via a website, all lands in Ontario that are in fact investment ready.  It will be a tool used by many, especially site selectors, to see what parts of Ontario are in a position to quickly move to an investment stage.  We know that this is a critical step for us to be certain that Windsor-Essex is on the investment map – literally.

Directly on the heels of this launch in December, the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation hosted an information session for commercial realtors, business developers, land owners, and municipal administrators with a presentation made by the Program Manager from the Ministry of Economic Development Trade and Employment.  We knew it was important for them to know about the program, what it takes to make these swaths of land certified for investment, and what the next steps are.

The initial launch of this program in December, 2013 was well represented by Windsor-Essex with over 50% of the applications from Southwestern Ontario coming from our region alone!  The Ministry was both impressed and encouraged by this response remarking on both the variety and sizes of sites from our region.  The second intake for applications opened on February 15, 2014 and recently closed on April 15th.  The next intake is slated for sometime in the Fall.

We are looking forward to hearing that more of our municipalities, developers and land owners are taking advantage of this investment attraction program to produce another ‘bumper crop’ of applications.  This program has clearly heightened the senses of many within the senior leadership of our municipalities when taking a look at their strategic plans for their community.

For the Economic Development Corporation, this is a key opportunity to be certain that when investors look at the Ontario map, they see as many properties as possible identified as certified investment ready, right here in Windsor-Essex!

The Certified Site Program at a glance:
The Certified Site Program is open to public and privately owned properties that are industrial zoned sites consisting of 10 acres or more.  The program provides financial and international marketing support for the property.

This program is extremely beneficial in that, a property with an Investment Ready: Certified Site designation is attractive to investors and site selectors because it:

  • provides important background information on the site’s availability, utilities, transportation access and environmental record;
  • encourages faster site selection decisions;
  • can help Greenfield or expansion projects get started.

Investment ready sites also benefit from:

  • an international marketing campaign aimed at the site selection community;
  • a profile on www.InvestinOntario.com;
  • promotion at key global real estate, site selection and investment attraction events.

Once the property is certified, it maintains the designation for 2 years and you can apply for an additional 2 years once the designation expires.  Your site will be promoted on the Province’s website for as long as it is certified, or until it is sold.  See the link below for full information on the Program and criteria.

Some of the primary criteria for the Pre-Screening Application process includes:

  • The minimum property size for sites must consist of at least ten (10) acres of adjoining developable land;
  • Applications must be submitted jointly with whether a municipality or an Economic Development Organization;
  • There is no limit to the number of applications that these 2 organizations can sponsor, but keep in mind that they and municipalities are limited to two (2) sites for potential funding with re-imbursement.  If a community wishes to certify more than 2 properties per year, additional sites can be certified without receiving reimbursement;
  • All applications/sites will be scored on their own individual merits;
  • A site must be free from easement, liens and development constraints.

The Program has someone on hand at all times to respond to questions by e-mail or telephone. Visit www.ontario.ca/certifiedsite or email investmentready@ontario.ca

Also, if you have any questions about the Program or Pre-Screening application process, do not hesitate to contact me at 519-255-9200, Ext. 2222 or at mfantetti@investwindsoressex.com.

To stay current with other programs and initiatives, be sure to visit our News Section at www.choosewindsoressex.com

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Marion Fantetti, Business Ombudsman

Marion Fantetti is the Business Ombudsman for the
WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation

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