One step at a time for world trade centre in Sudbury

Cody Cacciotti. John Lappa/Sudbury Star

Share Adjust Comment Print

First, they needed the support of the city. Once that is confirmed, Cody Cacciotti and former mayor Marianne Matichuk can proceed with their pitch for a World Trade Center in downtown Sudbury.

Matichuk and Cacciotti, who ran for mayor in 2018, presented their idea earlier this month to council. They said the facility will connect Sudbury to the world.

It “will foster a vibrant community of like-minded companies, entrepreneurs, support services, government and non-governmental agencies in a building with distinctive architectural design and compelling street presence, immediately recognizable as a landmark,” a staff report about the centre indicated. “The facility tenants and partner agencies and organizations share a common purpose: to build prosperity through international commerce.”

The World Trade Center Greater Sudbury would be situated downtown and would operate in conjunction with the city’s Junction West project, which includes a convention and conference centre. The goal would be to maximize conference facilities within the community with a mix of small to medium-sized meeting rooms and gathering spaces; a hotel; corporate apartments; retail and office space; as well as a bar.

As Matichuk and Cacciotti indicated, the World Trade Center Greater Sudbury would join a global association of more than 300 trade centres in 90 countries promoting trade, commerce and economic prosperity. It would expose local businesses to more than 750,000 potential partners throughout the world.

“The concept is that the World Trade Center Greater Sudbury, like other World Trade Centers, will concentrate the city’s international business expertise and resources to create a critical mass required to attract global companies and fuel economic growth in the community, noting a much higher potential to attract international trade missions through the World Trade Center network,” the staff report noted.

Within Canada, there are trade centres in Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. The world-famous World Trade Center in New York City is also part of the association.

Matichuk and Cacciotti told councillors they believe the local facility, projected to cost from $55 million to $65 million, could generate as many as 20 full-time jobs and 160 temporary construction jobs.

But there is a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg scenario taking place.

The Star received an email from the World Trade Centers Association indicating Matichuck and Cacciotti do not currently have a licence for the World Trade Center they pitched to council.

“What was approved in April 2019 was a six-month option, which granted Ms. Matichuk and her associate Cody Cacciotti temporary and restricted access to the WTC brand,” Ava Haray, a paralegal with the World Trade Centers Association, wrote. “The option formally lapsed in October 2019 and was not extended nor converted to a full licence. Only full licence holders are considered members and allowed to claim full use of the WTC name in their respective city. At this time there are no commitments, either assumed or implied, between the WTCA and the respective parties named in the article.”

Cacciotti said in response the first step in their big plan was to elicit the support of city council.

He said when he and Matichuk first approached the World Trade Centers Association in 2019, they initially wanted to find out whether the association would find merit in a Sudbury-based facility. He was happy to learn they found value in the project and felt that “Sudbury would be a viable location for a site.”

“We didn’t want to proceed with a full licence until we secured the support of the municipality,” Cacciotti said. “We’re now working with the city to see if there’s interest on the city’s behalf to establish a World Trade Center in the community. Should the city agree to move forward on the proposal we made to council, we will then proceed with activating a full licence.”

Cacciotti said it would have been premature to move forward with the project without consulting the city first.

“It’s one of those chicken or the egg type of things, where you’ve got to line everybody up,” he said. “We didn’t want to bring this to the city first without seeing if the (World Trade Centers Association) was interested in us. Now that we know there’s potential to set up one here, now we’re working with the city to approve their part. That’s where we’re at.”

If city council decides to support the centre, Cacciotti said he and Matichuk would enter into discussions with the association to formalize a licence.

If the city decides not to support a World Trade Center in Sudbury, Cacciotti said there is a plan B, but he was coy and would not divulge details.

When Matichuk and Cacciotti presented to council, they asked for a $10 million capital contribution over 10 years. But they said it would be money well spent.

“The World Trade Center Greater Sudbury proposal also confirms the organization’s intention to pay property taxes, and has included this cost in its initial financial plans as estimated at between $750,000 and $1.5 million,” the staff report indicated. “The proposal notes that by projecting an annual property tax payment of $1 million, the city could recover its initial contribution by 2033.”

mkkeown@postmedia.com

Twitter: @marykkeown

705 674 5271 ext. 505235

 

 

 

Comments