The Thorold Multimodal Hub, a collaborative venture between the BMI Group and HOPA Ports, has received a 2023 Brownie Award from the Canadian Brownfields Network. Honored in the ‘Renew-Large Scale Project’ category, the Thorold Multimodal Hub was recognized for its successful reimagining of a legacy industrial site for modern industrial uses.
Each year, the Canadian Brownfields Network recognizes Canada’s best brownfield redevelopment projects which demonstrate innovation, environmental sustainability, and positive community impact.
The Thorold Multimodal Hub was introduced in 2020 by partners BMI Group and HOPA Ports, at the site of a former paper mill next to the Welland Canal in Thorold, Ontario. The mill had stood empty since 2017, with little prospect of attracting a new paper manufacturer. At 200 acres (80 hectares) and purpose-built for paper milling, it was not easily adaptable to another use. However, the site possessed some interesting assets: marine access to the adjacent Welland Canal, rail access, on-site water treatment, and more than 500,000 sq.ft of buildings.
Purchased by BMI Group, the site was brought under the Thorold Multimodal Hub umbrella with adjacent lands owned by HOPA Ports. To-date more than $100 million has been invested across the Hub to reconfigure and modernize the site infrastructure, including reactivation of the rail lines, and upgrading the buildings to suit modern users.
In 2022, BMI Group purchased another adjacent property, a vacant former automotive manufacturing facility, and in October 2023, HOPA expanded its own adjacent land holdings, bringing the Thorold Multimodal Hub lands to 500+ acres of contiguous multimodal industrial lands.
HOPA Ports works with BMI Group to manage and market the Hub to new users as part of HOPA’s Niagara Ports strategy. The partners have attracted more than 30 diverse industrial tenants so far.
“We are thrilled to be recognized with this Brownie Award,” said Justus Veldman, Managing Director at BMI Group. “We’re proud of the imagination and dedication of our team, and grateful to all of our partners who have helped us come so far, so fast. Our restorative development model recognizes the value inherent in legacy industrial spaces and positions them for the future.”
“The success of the Thorold Multimodal Hub shows the healthy demand for marine-served industrial space in southern Ontario,” said Ian Hamilton, President & CEO of HOPA Ports. “By improving industrial brownfields and strengthening their transportation assets, we can create room for business to grow, enhance supply chains, and create new jobs.“