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Economy spurs building boom in Thunder Bay.

Construction is the first tangible sign that a well-rooted idea is taking shape and, right now, Thunder Bay is red-hot with development.

Three northwestern construction companies are sinking their teeth into significant development projects hoped to encourage new economic growth.

Construction on the $6 million Northern Ontario School of Medicine building is underway on the Lakehead University campus site.

Tom Jones Corp. is the proponent contractor there. The 64,000-square-foot facility will house a library, laboratory, group rooms, offices, examination room and "smart" classrooms. The medical building is located beside the Advanced Technology & Academic Centre (ATAC). It will be completed in time for the first wave of students this fall.

A $12 million five-storey professional office building is also being developed at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. The new Cancer Centre will fill the fifth floor with out-of-town cancer patients seeking treatment. A breast screening lab, drug store and a myriad of doctors' offices will also be housed under the roof. Tenants are already moving in.

The Thunder Centre, situated on the top of Fort William Road and Main Street, is getting additional tenants with three big box stores under construction. Owned by Camrose Development (Ontario) Ltd., one of the buildings is a seven-unit facility, while the second has three rental spaces. The third big box store will be Home Outfitters' new digs. Additional tenants will join the existing Old Navy, Pier 1 Imports, and Mark's Work Warehouse outlets. Road work and site development for the estimated $16.5 million project is being done while Jones works toward a mid-summer completion.

Tom Jones Corp. is also working at the Bare Point Water Treatment Plant after winning a subcontracting job from North American Construction Group. That firm is also involved in work at the Thunder Bay sewage treatment plant.

"We are doing all the civil work," John Jones, general manager with Tom Jones Corp. says.

Employment fluctuates as construction projects mature. For instance, Jones had to cut back approximately 25 workers to 12 for the Bare Point project during the winter. Now that the warmer weather has arrived, additional workers will be rehired.

"What causes the fluctuation is how much work we are self-performing and how much work is contracted out."

If a job has a lot of piling or pouring work that the company is doing itself, as many as 120-150 workers could be on site. If the project does not require such civil work, then approximately 60 workers are employed.

Man-Shield (N.W.O.) Construction is also busy building a $12 million concrete water reservoir to increase water distribution capacity in the south end of the city. The company plans to have it finished by November, 12 months after they started.

As well, the new Pinewood Court long-term care facility is being developed at Walsh and Grey Street at a cost of about $12.5 million. The Central Care Corp.-owned facility will house 128 beds by the time construction is finished in November.

The King George's Park residential subdivision located within the newly developed Whitewater Golf Club will feature approximately 250 single-family homes, 130 town homes and 70 condominiums. Construction of a sewage treatment plant, sewer drains and roads are underway.

"This year, the focus is the residential units, so we just dug the first basement (April 6) for the single family homes and the basement for the luxury town homes last fall for a cluster of four," Silvio Di Gregorio, secretary treasurer for Bruno's Contracting says.

He expects to complete at least 20 stately single homes by year-end. Two town homes will be ready for viewing May 15.

Within the golf course, there will also be a resort component to attract stay-and-play visitors. Rental units will be available for people wanting to spend a couple of days, weeks or months at the premier golf course. Development is expected to last another 10 years. The latest Statistics Canada figures indicate the city's population has grown by 575 people from 2002 to 2003.



Northern Ontario Business
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Article Details
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Author:Louiseize, Kelly
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:May 1, 2005
Previous Article:North Bay hospital off the waiting list.
Next Article:Top construction companies in Northern Ontario.

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