The city is eyeing a 2016 opening date for the first phase of its proposed innovation complex at Bayview Yards, says a staff report to be tabled at a meeting of Ottawa’s finance and economic development committee next week.
© Google Street View image
An old city workshop at the Bayview Yards.
By David Sali
The report, which will be presented at the committee on Tuesday, also recommends the establishment of a new non-profit corporation to oversee the development and operation of the facility, the city said in a statement this week. The report will go in front of city council on Dec. 11.
If council gives the project the go-ahead, a board of directors for the non-profit corporation will be chosen and staff will start working on a lease agreement for the building, which is located on 0.8 hectares of land at 7 Bayview Rd.
The innovation complex would be the new home of Invest Ottawa and also include an expanded business incubation and acceleration centre and other support agencies for entrepreneurs as well as private tenants. Supporters say it will become a place where entrepreneurs can interact, share ideas and learn new skills, similar to Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District or Waterloo’s Communitech Hub.
“As we build our city’s new economic engine, Ottawa needs a dynamic, world-class facility like this to foster innovation and support private-sector job growth,” Mayor Jim Watson said in a statement. “This is a site that has tremendous potential for smart growth, especially as we expand our transit system in the coming years.”
The project would be jointly funded by the city, the province and the private sector. The province has already pledged $15 million toward the complex, an amount the city plans to match through in-kind contributions of staff resources, waived municipal fees and development charges and cash to help cover operating shortfalls in the startup phase.
The 45,000-square-foot city-owned building at 7 Bayview Rd. was declared a heritage site last year. The city said it expects to start renovations, including a 5,000-square-foot addition, in 2014, and is targeting mid-2016 for the first phase to be finished.
The city said it hopes to start planning the second phase – an office building of up to 180,000 square feet funded in partnership with a private developer – next year. Construction on the building would start once a development partner and anchor tenants are found.