Construction underway at former Ford plant in Talbotville, future unclear

A sign marks the entrance to a Broccolini construction site at the land of a former Ford assembly plant in Talbotville, Ont. on July 5. Andrew Graham / Global News

A piece of land south of London that formerly housed a massive of source of income for families in southwestern Ontario has been sold, but there’s no word on what its buyer has planned.

Construction is now underway at the site of the former Ford assembly plant in Talbotville amid speculation that Amazon is planning to set up shop at the location, spurred by a report from the London Free Press that alleges the e-commerce giant is overhauling the land.

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LiUNA Local 1059, a union representing labourers in the region, says its members began work on the site for Broccolini, a company headquartered in Montreal that provides construction, development and real estate services.

“We have only been told that the initial building on site is for a large e-commerce company,” said the union in an email to Global News.

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When asked about the site late last week, a spokesperson for Amazon did not confirm or deny the speculation, telling Global News in an email “we don’t comment on our future roadmap.”

St. Thomas Mayor Joe Preston says while the future of the site is unclear, its purchase is still a sign of good things to come.

“We’re happy to see that the site has now changed hands and is moving forward again,” Preston said.

“We know that in the future, this will create a lot for southwestern Ontario, including London, St. Thomas, Southwold and all of the municipalities around it.”

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The Ford assembly plant that previously sat at the site on Sunset Drive (Highway 4) just south of Southminster Bourne had fuelled a lot of jobs and income in the area, said Preston, who was the member of parliament for Elgin-Middlesex-London when the plant closed in 2011.

“We did all we could do, including driving to Dearborn and having meetings with Ford to see what could happen, and we were not able to save the plant,” Preston added.

“Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that we move very quickly forward on creating employment and enterprise on that site.”

Sold signs sit outside the former Ford assembly plant in Talbotville, Ont. Andrew Graham / Global News

Amazon does have an upcoming presence confirmed in London, with a pair of delivery stations set to open in the Forest City later this year.

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The London Economic Development Corporation is working with Amazon to help with the hiring process and is hosting a series of virtual information sessions for those who wish to apply.

On top of the virtual workshops, LEDC also plans on having hiring events for a variety of positions at the upcoming Amazon facilities.

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