I released this Statement today regarding news of a new L3 WESCAM facility in Hamilton.
Recent news has emerged announcing that L3 WESCAM, which currently operates three sites across the Greater Toronto Area, including two in Burlington, will be consolidating into one, 300,000-square-foot facility in Hamilton, in an effort to increase operational efficiency.
We are sorry to see them go and wish them well in their new home. We are pleased that jobs are staying local within the region — approximately 800 jobs are currently on site at the Burlington location, which will be moved to Waterdown. As a result, no jobs are expected to be lost from the company. L3 WESCAM is also completing an expansion and consolidating its operations that should bring an additional 400 jobs to the region at the site at Highway 6 — this will increase its employee base to 1,200.
I have scheduled a meeting with the L3 WESCAM president in two weeks to understand the rationale for their move, so that it can inform our strategy in business retention and attraction in the city. This move has been in the works for a number of years.
Burlington will not be losing any tax revenue as the City’s vacant property tax rebate was removed in 2018. L3 WESCAM’s current lease in Burlington expires in 2020 and it is hoping to enter its new space in Q1 2021.
While the Burlington property is not currently officially on the market, the City and Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) are actively seeking occupants to move in to the 122,000-square-foot facility. The space should be available in Q1 2021 and to lease in its entirety or divisible to fit multiple companies. Once the availability of the space is confirmed and the landlord officially lists it, BEDC and the City will fully promote the property to companies.
A key focus of the recent Red Tape Red Carpet (RTRC) Task Force I launched this year is to ensure supports are available to retain and attract employers to Burlington. A major obstacle in this is that Burlington currently doesn’t have enough shovel-ready employment land that is unconstrained and available to be developed in an 18-24 month timeframe. Anticipated recommendations from the RTRC Task Force will help ensure that our city does have more of that shovel-ready land and help reduce the timeframes and increase supports for businesses to get in the ground.
“BEDC has been working with L3 WESCAM for a number of years through our business retention and growth services. Despite BEDC’s extensive efforts to retain L3 WESCAM, it has come down to a financial and business decision for the company to move outside of Burlington. L3 WESCAM’s continued growth nearby will create an opportunity for many Burlington residents to still work for the company while creating an opportunity to attract a new employer to the current 122,000-sq.-ft. site. While we are sad to see them go, BEDC is looking forward to working with the property owners to market the space and create new opportunities for Burlington residents to live and work locally.” — Anita Cassidy, Acting Director of Burlington Economic Development Corporation