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What’s Driving Explosive Growth in Camrose? This Small City Is Experiencing an Unprecedented Boom

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Camrose, Alta., is witnessing an unprecedented wave of economic growth. Developers enjoy affordable land, a streamlined permit process, and the support of a proactive local government. 

Set in the heart of the Alberta prairies, Camrose is known for its extensive parks and trail systems. But gorgeous greenery is far from all this growing community has to offer. Camrose is experiencing an explosive wave of economic development — in the first four months of 2023 alone, the city has seen $70 million in development permits, as compared to its typical annual figure of $20 million. 

aerial view of camrose

“Camrose is undergoing a transformation driven by a new vision for economic prosperity and community growth,” says Patricia MacQuarrie, its General Manager of Community Development, highlighting the city’s intentional, proactive approach to attracting young entrepreneurs and investors. “We’re witnessing an unprecedented surge in development activity and are attracting a diverse range of industries that are creating new opportunities for our residents.”

Major construction projects underway

Among the numerous ongoing development projects in Camrose are the construction and expansion of multi-bay commercial buildings, administrative buildings catering to law, medical, and other professional services, corporate administrative offices, and large residential developments. Dr. Chris Dinh, who’s building a multi-storey dental clinic in the city, weighed in on the benefits Camrose offers to prospective business owners. 

“Camrose is really the perfect place to raise our young family. It has all the charm of a small town while having many of the conveniences of a big city,” he says. Set fewer than 100 kilometres from Edmonton on two intersecting rail lines and with close proximity to other major transportation corridors, Camrose affords developers and businesses excellent connectivity and access to markets. “The process of dealing with the City of Camrose for permits and development goals was a very positive experience as well,” says Dr. Dinh. “They were able to guide and provide feedback quickly and positively in a way that always kept the project moving forward.”

Unique advantages for developers

Besides its strategic location, Camrose boasts a supportive business environment and a proactive local government committed to promoting growth. Between the city’s affordable land, competitive development costs, and streamlined permit process, building in Camrose is a chance to get in on the ground floor of a burgeoning community — and skirt much of a larger city’s bureaucratic red tape in the process. 

“We’re seeing prices less than $200,000 per acre for fully serviced industrial lots in Camrose. Similar lots in other cities are seeing those kinds of prices for either un-serviced or partially serviced lots,” says MacQuarrie. “We also have multiple options, from serviced to self-serviced industrial lands, which provide a lot of flexibility for developers.” A recent study of Camrose’s new Railway Junction Industrial Area shows the cost per acre at a whopping 89 per cent more cost-effective than its comparators’ prices.

Camrose isn’t just a great place for business. It’s also a lovely place to live.

Opportunities for industrial development range from expansive 100-acre greenfield sites to smaller, fully serviced three- to five-acre lots. Meanwhile, low-density residential development permits are typically processed within just three days, while larger residential permits take 18 days on average. Even for larger projects like commercial, industrial, and multi-family developments, the permit process averages 41 days. These processing times outpace comparators by 43 per cent.

“Camrose isn’t just a great place for business. It’s also a lovely place to live,” says MacQuarrie. “The pace of life is slower. We’ve got an incredible trail system that attracts young families looking for outdoor recreational opportunities and a lower cost of living than other cities in Alberta. It’s a very safe and welcoming community that allows for a different quality of life than the hustle and bustle of the major cities with all the amenities of a major urban centre. It really is the best of both worlds.”

Join the action. Invest in Camrose. Visit camrose.ca/ecdev to learn more.

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