Three years after Siemens closed its Hamilton plant in the city's north end, a group of new tenants are making themselves comfortable at the century-old facility.
City staff and the property owner officially welcomed the new tenants of 20 Myler St. on Wednesday, a fresh start for the massive plant with 450,000 square feet of space sprawling over 18 acres of land.
Pennsylvania-based Chapel Steel, which chose Hamilton to open its first Canadian plant, is the biggest tenant of the complex, occupying 100,000 square feet of space. Manufacturer AZZ took up 78,000 square feet. Alstom, an energy and transport company, and Triple Crown Construction are also calling the plant home.
Empire Steel, which purchased the property from Siemens, also has an office space of 80,000 square feet on site.
The facility's fully functional equipment — including the largest overhead cranes in Canada — and its competitive rates makes securing tenants a swift process, said John MacNamara, senior sales representative of the property's broker Colliers International.
“Essentially the building sells itself. It wasn't a hard sell because there are a lot of demand for businesses to be in Hamilton.”
The departure of Siemens was a significant loss to the city- at one time it employed more than 500 people in well-paying unionized jobs.
MacNamara preferred to look at how smaller businesses have been able to move into this prime industrial location.
“It was a good thing for all the smaller companies who were desperate for spaces like this,” he said.
Norm Schleehahn, manager of business development with the City of Hamilton, called the tenants' investment in Hamilton "a right direction" for the city's manufacturing industry.
“Your investments are further proof that manufacturing is still a strong and very viable industry in the city,” he told the stakeholders.
Neither the brokerage nor the city were able to provide job numbers for the new tenants - so it's not clear how many of those lost jobs have been recovered at the site.
Schleehahn also acknowledged the contribution of Bernie Morelli in bringing in one of the tenants. The Ward 3 councillor died last month at the end of long illness.
The broker and property owner will be working on filling the remaining 90,000 square feet of the plant.