The Road More Travelled

September 29th, 2016 by Tyler Mattheis and James Hardy – Altus Group Ltd.

Many businesses and land developers actively seek affordable commercial land with easy access to two or four lane highways.  Highway access or frontage provides businesses with superior exposure and connections to their suppliers and customers.

Nova Scotia has an abundance of highway accessible commercial properties on the “100 series” 4-lane divided highway system connecting major centres to each other and to neighbouring provinces and states including:

  • Maine via Highway 101 and the Cat ferry;
  • New Brunswick via Highways 102 and 104;
  • Prince Edward Island via Highways 102, 104, and 106; and
  • Newfoundland via Highway 105 and the Marine Atlantic Ferry.

Given the many options open to a business looking for a new highway accessible location, how does an entrepreneur select the best option for their business?


Ask the Right Questions

When selecting the best business or development site near one of these highways, the following questions often make a first cut easier:

  1. Are there available skilled workers in the area?
  2. Does the community appeal to my existing workforce?
  3. How close are my suppliers?
  4. Can my customers get to me?
  5. What is the total cost of development including construction, land costs, utilities, and taxes?


Seek out Professional Help

Adequate time and careful consideration of the above questions combined with low or no-cost assistance available from your local economic development office and real estate agents is often enough to select the right commercial land for your plans.

However, for more complex businesses or for land development plans, professional market analysis and site selection services are often used.

In 2014, East Hants engaged Stantec, in collaboration with the Altus Group, to provide support for a business parks market analysis [PDF – 5.7 MB] which examined both the Highway 101 and 102 corridors in East Hants.  Here’s how James Hardy describes the support and findings that Altus provided for East Hants to make informed long-term commercial land development investments.

Altus Case Study by James Hardy:
East Hants Business Parks Market Analysis, Readiness and Expansion Plans

Land Market Analysis Altus GroupAltus Group became engaged in 2014 to examine the market reality surrounding three potential development scenarios within East Hants.

The market analysis included a property inventory of occupied land, available land, and future development land for competitive highway commercial business park and industrial parks within the Halifax to Moncton and Halifax to Annapolis Valley corridors. Achieved lot pricing and asking prices for the comparable lands were analyzed along with locational competitive factors such as real estate taxes. Furthermore, park development history and land absorptions rates for both corridors were established.

Working with our project partner Stantec and our client East Hants, key variables were isolated to provide a commercial land development model allowing maximum flexibility and utility of the final product.  The final report included:

  • Site plans that allowed for site specific park expansions;
  • Alternate development scenarios to allow for a variety of potential clients; and
  • Flexible phased growth to allow for market fluctuations and dynamic timelines.

After identifying the lay of the land, both physically and in the market, the Municipality has been able to knowledgeably act on a strategic plan for their commercial park development.

For more information visit:

Altus Group’s Research, Valuation & Advisory group (RVA) is the largest independent real estate advisory practice in North America. As the market leader for over 40 years, RVA provides public and private sector clients with strategic advice and information to help them make the right business decisions.  Altus RVA advisors have knowledge and experience in both local and national markets and they consistently deliver solid, professional advice to a wide spectrum of the real estate industry.

Whether large or small, expansions, re-locations, or new development plans are big moments for any business.  By asking questions, engaging in thoughtful analysis and seeking good advice businesses can ensure that their next move is the right move.

For more information on business expansion or relocation opportunities in East Hants, visit


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