Former Nestlé plant finding greater use under new ownership; kudos for township staff

Seen from the end of King Street, the painted-over brand "Nestlé" is once again emerging on the factory stack. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Nelson Zandbergen
Nation Valley News

CHESTERVILLE — The co-owner of Chesterville’s former Nestlé factory says his firm could never have undertaken such a rehabilitation project if the sprawling facility were located in nearby Ottawa, where the IDP Group originally considered building a new warehouse.

Instead, last November, the 15-year-old government office furnishing enterprise purchased the shuttered 373,000-square-foot plant — fortunately located in the Township of North Dundas.

Hamed Asl has high praise for the way he’s been able to work with local township officials while re-commissioning of the massive facility over the past year. But only a billionaire could have made progress with the City of Ottawa’s planning department if the complicated plant were located in that municipality’s jurisdiction, he suggested to Nation Valley News last month.

“Even when we tried to build a 1,500-square-foot mezzanine onto to our Ottawa office, we basically gave up because of the complexity and crazy back and forth” with city officials, he said.

By contrast, the firm has built a “relationship” with North Dundas officials and is making headway at 171 Main Street North. “We didn’t agree on everything … but the relationship overall has been successful,” he said, adding the company has “rolled with the punches” when necessary. “Not everything is always going to be in your favour,” added Asl.

“The guys from the Ontario Clean Water Agency [North Dundas’s water and sewer operations contractor] have been awesome,” he said. “I’ve called them so many times now, and they show up within 30 minutes.”

IDP’s Nestle project, which has included handling issues related to drain water management and the restoration of hydro power, “has been a challenging, crazy out of this world project,” he said. Putting a heating system in the building was the company’s next immediate issue.

The owners are “excited” to bring their excess warehousing space — originally built by Nestlé at incredible cost —  onto the market at substantially cheaper lease rates than those in Ottawa, he said.

And there has been an uptick in interested parties touring the plant, looking at the amenities, he reported.

Some of the facility’s space has already hosted one particularly interesting project this summer.

The IDP Group is hosting a funding announcement this morning (Oct. 21), expected to draw various officials.



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