The New Scotland Business Development Inc. (NSBDI) is a municipal corporation owned by the Town of New Glasgow and the Municipality of the County of Pictou.
The purpose of the company is to facilitate business development and economic growth opportunities through the sale of business park lands within the region of Pictou County.
East River Road, New Glasgow – Construction has begun on a 79-unit mixed use, multi-residential building in the East River Business Park.
The Dunkeld, owned by Somerled Properties, features one- and two-bedroom residential units, as well as 11,000 square feet of commercial space on the complex’s ground level facing East River Road. The new property, scheduled to open in spring 2023, will consist of 56 per cent two-bedroom and 44 per cent one-bedroom residences, attracting a mixture of tenants that include both families and seniors. Its commercial space will appeal to a range of retail and business professionals, such as lawyers and doctors.
The building is named after the ship The Dunkeld, which carried passengers from Scotland to Pictou in 1791. Some of those immigrants were ancestors of Somerled President and CEO Donald MacDonald, whose roots run deep across the county. MacDonald is the owner and operator of a trio of companies collaborating to build multi-unit residential buildings in various parts of the province.
“Our goal is to respect the local landscape while helping address the housing crisis here in Nova Scotia,” says MacDonald, President and CEO of Somerled Properties, Eastcut Wood Building Solutions and DORA Construction.
In addition to supplying new residential units to the market, over 30 per cent of The Dunkeld’s spaces are targeted for affordable housing. “We are interested in making a positive impact in Pictou County and across the Maritimes,” says MacDonald, adding that Somerled is working with other businesses and organizations to assist with easing the housing crisis.
MacDonald says the East River Business Park is an ideal location for the new complex because it fills a need for accommodations and affordable rentals in a central location close to a busy commercial area.
The 17-acre East River Business Park is owned by the Town of New Glasgow and the Municipality of Pictou County. It is located off Exit 25 on the TransCanada Highway and strategically placed on the busiest roadway in Pictou County – East River Road.
“We like the fact that East River Road is the gateway to New Glasgow,” he says. “It’s a significant employment hub, through the Aberdeen Hospital and Glen Haven Manor, so when we started talking with the park’s business development officer Frank MacFarlane and the New Scotland Business Development Inc., they also saw the benefits of having a multi-residential building in this area.”
MacFarlane notes that his discussions with Somerled Properties began in 2019 for the two-acre parcel of land in the East River Business Park. “Once Somerled agreed to dedicate a percentage of the ground floor to commercial development, we started moving forward with them in earnest,” says MacFarlane. East River Road is a major commercial corridor in the region and is home to many major employers, such as the North Nova Education Centre, Nova Scotia Health and Crombie REIT.
MacFarlane says the process to date has been fairly seamless. “Considering the complexity of a mixed-use development, particularly of this scale, it really helps to have a point person in place to support the developer and builder in managing the municipal processes … from site selection and pre-construction to occupancy.”
MacDonald agrees that working by collaboratively with New Scotland Business Development Inc., the permitting process with local municipalities has been positive. “There have been challenges logistically in terms of dealing with the world demand for supplies and an ongoing labour shortage, but Somerled has found a way to build The Dunkeld, as well as other projects across the province, more efficiently.”
Somerled’s sister company, Eastcut Wood Building Solutions, which specializes in panelized construction, is manufacturing the walls and floors for The Dunkeld at its Trenton location. Once this work is complete, it will be trucked to the East River Business Park, where DORA Construction, another sister company of Somerled, will put the pieces together to create the complex.
The fabrication facility opened a year ago. It currently employs upwards of 30 employees and features a low carbon approach to manufacturing, allowing for more efficient building construction year-round. “By building in a controlled environment at our Eastcut facility, we are reducing construction site waste by approximately two-thirds when compared to a traditional stick build,” says MacDonald, adding the company will soon need to hire additional staff to meet the growing demand for its services.
Visit www.thedunkeld.com for additional information about residential and commercial spaces available at The Dunkeld. Advertising signage will soon be on-site.
The East River Road Business Park is continuing to grow in 2020.
The park, which is owned by the Municipality of Pictou County and the Town of New Glasgow, recently welcomed the addition of a new orthopedic assessment clinic that is expected to open this fall, said Business Development Officer Frank MacFarlane.
“The addition of the ortho clinic in East River Business Park is extremely positive for not only the Nova Scotia Health Authority but for the region in general. Parsons Investments Limited is a very reputable developer and their decision to purchase land and develop in the business park for this tenant was an obvious one. In fact, we hope to make announcements like this in the future as other healthcare-related businesses see the advantage of East River Business Park’s proximity to Aberdeen Regional Hospital,” he said.
Features of the new orthopedic assessment clinic include gym space, classrooms, and larger clinic spaces, which will allow the orthopedic assessment clinic and pre-habilitation team to offer the services that patients at other sites have been benefitting from.
The 17-acre commercial park located along the East River Road has been undergoing considerable development in the past year. Work recently finished on a new wastewater lift station replaced a current dated station in the Town of New Glasgow. It provides new wastewater services to the park as well as some existing businesses along the East River Road.
A new signalized intersection is also located at the end of North Novie Drive, which is the road going into the business park off of East River Road. It was originally thought a roundabout could be located in this area to provide access to the park, but a signalized intersection was the preferred choice of New Scotland Business Development Inc which oversees work being done in the park.
“We expect the signalized intersection to be fully functional in the next couple of weeks. Access to the business park from East River Road is critical as it is the busiest vehicular corridor in the region. The new intersection and lift station, together with the recent installation of LED lights on all of the poles makes the site the perfect location for any business,” said MacFarlane.
He added that interest in the park in the past year has been steady despite the economic uncertainty associated with COVID-19.
“I hope to share news about future development in the coming weeks,” MacFarlane said.
In 2015, NSBDI purchased 45 acres of land adjacent to the existing East River Business Park. The Town of New Glasgow and the Municipality of the County of Pictou each provided a loan guarantee to NSBDI in the amount of $3,125,000 to purchase and develop the lands. The purchase and sale agreement included 17 acres of developed land with municipal water, wastewater and a road network already installed. Natural gas services are also present.
As the sole shareholders in NSBDI, the Town and Municipality cover interest costs on the borrowings of NSBDI. NSBDI has a principal balance of debt owing in the amount of $2,951,879. The Town and Municipality provide for the interest payments on the debt in the amount of $59,100 per year.