Welland is attracting foreign investors.
Welland Mayor Frank Campion, the city's director of economic development Dan Degazio and chief financial officer Steve Zorbas attended the Le Marché International des Professionnels de l’Immobilier (MIPIM) in Cannes, France, from March 13 to 16 to showcase what Welland has to offer on an international stage.
The four-day event saw more than 26,000 players from the international property industry attend, representing more than 100 countries.
“You hear about (foreign investors) wanting to move and invest in North America, particularly Canada, and this gives a good opportunity to meet with them,” said Degazio.
He said Welland's infrastructures, along with its ability to get people moving and “avoid bureaucratic red tape” is a substantial advantage for the city.
Campion, Degazio and Zorbas attended almost 24 meetings, opening foreign investment dialogue with companies from countries including Holand, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.
“We can put people on the ground quicker than most and get a return on investment quicker. That’s getting a lot play throughout this investment world,” said Degazio.
He said Welland is becoming more attractive for foreign investment because of its affordability and location to the border, and opportunities presented by the Welland Canal.
“When companies are coming here, they are coming into Niagara or into Canada to get set up so they can then work into the US,” Degazio said.
He said an alliance with Toronto and Hamilton is also helping to bring more investment to Welland.
“If a company doesn’t fit in Toronto, because we’re part of Toronto, they’ll say why don’t you look at Niagara region, why don’t you look at Welland,” he added.
“Not everything goes to Toronto, not everything can fit in Toronto.”
Degazio is meeting with a partner company out of Toronto this week, a connection that came at MIPIM.
He said Welland is expecting a “significant” proposal.
“It’s a little bit confidential but it’s a relatively big proposal for the city and this company is part of a big REIT (retail estate investment trust) so it’s pretty exciting.”