Beaumont City Council took a step towards creating a place for businesses and investors to pursue innovation with the initial approval of a business park Tuesday.
The proposed Beaumont Innovation Park is subject to council’s approval to borrow funding for the project, including the purchase of land for the park site. A prospective tenant has already committed $1 million towards land in the park, with plans for a significant overall investment.
“This proposal represents the cumulative work by council and city administration in the last few years to encourage more business development in Beaumont,” said Mayor John Stewart. “Growing our business community will provide more services, amenities and jobs for residents and broaden our tax base so we can continue to afford city services, parks and recreation opportunities, and all the other aspects that contribute to the high quality of life in Beaumont.”
Autonomous technology, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and data management are just some of the fields that could be tenants in the park. Businesses would be able to take advantage of the ultra high speed broadband network proposed by a consortium of leading global technology firms for consideration by the city.
Purchasing the land enables the city to move the project forward faster and ensure the types of businesses in the park are a fit for the community. Over time, revenue from the business park would pay for the borrowing cost.
On Tuesday, council gave first reading to a bylaw to borrow $10 million for the park, with the $1 million deposit contributing to the cost. Second and third readings are scheduled for Feb. 16.
Details of the land purchase, including location, are still subject to confidential negotiations and would be released to the public upon closure of the sale. The prospective tenant has requested confidentiality due to sensitive commercial considerations.
The proposal follows the city’s purchase of a downtown property at 5006 50 Avenue next to a planned condominium and commercial development for $725,000 from reserves in November. Although the property is not related to plans for the business park, the city is in conversations with businesses in the technology and innovation sector for the site.
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