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Buyer of former Talbotville Ford site promises ‘significant and sustained employment’

Sold signs sit outside the former Ford assembly plant in Talbotville, Ont. on July 5. Andrew Graham / Global News

“Significant and sustained employment” is on the horizon for southwestern Ontario, according to the latest clues surrounding the secretive future of the site of the former Ford assembly plant in Talbotville.

On Thursday, Broccolini shared new details on its recent purchase of the site about a half hour south of London.

Read more: Construction underway at former Ford plant in Talbotville, future unclear

“Broccolini intends to renew the area’s legacy by redeveloping these lands and introducing new uses that reflect the modern industrial real estate landscape,” said Broccolini’s vice president of real estate development James Beach.

“This will bring significant and sustained employment opportunities back to the Township of Southwold and Elgin County.”

An aerial shot of the 622 acres of industrial land in Talbotville that was recently purchased by Broccolini. Broccolini

The update from Broccolini adds that it “has begun preparatory work, including grading and soil decontamination,” however, “the specific uses (of the land) have yet to be confirmed.”

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The news comes amid growing speculation that Amazon plans to set up shop at the site, a rumour that’s been spurred by recent reporting from the London Free Press including a story that seemingly confirms the e-commerce giant’s move to Talbotville.

Broccolini, a company headquartered in Montreal that provides construction, development and real estate services, has a significant track record of building with Amazon in Ontario and Quebec.

This includes an upcoming fulfillment centre in Ajax that boasts a more than 1 million sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility that will employ more than 1,000 full-time employees, according to Broccolini.

Read more: Amazon to open 2 delivery stations in London, Ont. later this year

LiUNA Local 1059, a union representing labourers in the region, said its member started work on the site for Broccolini on Monday.

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

So far, Amazon has not confirmed or denied the rumour, with a spokesperson telling Global News last week “we don’t comment on our future roadmap.”

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

Paul Jenkins, the CEO of the St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce, says he’s been inundated with calls and emails asking the same thing.

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“It increasingly looks like that’s the organization being set up,” Jenkins said. “Unfortunately, I’m not going to be one to be able to confirm that it is Amazon.”

Read more: Nestle Canada to invest $41M in London, Ont. plant, adding 88 jobs

While the future of the site may be unclear, Jenkins says residents are “absolutely jazzed” about the recent purchase.

“We took great pride in building some amazing Crown Victorias there for the longest time. That’s come to its end, but St. Thomas and London and our areas have always been willing and ready to pivot to the next technology,” Jenkins said.

“There are jobs to be had, there are investments taking place, there are things happening that haven’t happened in a long time… Get out of our way and watch southwestern Ontario grow.”

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