Red Deer has again earned favourable ink in Alberta Venture magazine for being business-friendly, although it’s not as prominent as last year.
The city made the annual list of Alberta’s 10 Best Communities for Business, sharing the spotlight with Airdrie, Calgary, Camrose, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Lloydminster, Strathcona County, Strathmore and the International Region around Leduc.
In 2008, Red Deer was declared the best community in the province for businesses. This year it’s among the also-rans, with the International Region judged tops.
Alberta Venture announced its 2009 list last Thursday, but details became available this week when the magazine’s June issue came out.
The combined tax and utility rates in Red Deer and area are described as being among the lowest in Canada. Average household income in the city is listed at $93,836 (second only to Calgary) and the price of serviced industrial land is identified at $350,000 to $475,000 an acre.
Alberta Venture said it gave the nod to the International Region over the other top-10 communities because of the region’s moderate costs, business-friendly attitude, economic potential, and low risk due to its diversification and proximity to major population areas and transportation hubs.
Judging criteria included rental rates, land costs, taxes, market size, transportation access, licensing fees, average income, cost of living, post-secondary institutions and other amenities.
Garett Cupples, president of Gentex Oilfield Manufacturing Inc., is quoted in the magazine as saying his company is in Red Deer because of its strategic location on the Calgary-Edmonton corridor and the “can-do” attitude prevalent in the city.
In 2008, Alberta Venture listed its top 10 business communities in descending order. This year it did not rank the nine runners-up.
In addition to the magazine article, Alberta Venture has posted detailed information about the 31 communities considered for its list online at albertaventure.com.
For instance, 230,000 people are said to live within an hour’s commuting distance of Red Deer, lease rates here average $15 a square foot for office space and $13 for retail space, home prices average $338,000, and the waiting time for development permits is approximately six weeks.
The only other Central Alberta community included in the online database is Lacombe. Alberta Venture lists its average household income at $64,746, says serviced industrial land sells there for $110,000 an acre, places the average house price in Lacombe at $288,500, and indicates that lease rates in town are about $15 a square foot for office and retail space.