by Jennifer McIntosh
Everything is on track for the opening of the city’s Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards, said Saad Bashir, the city’s director of economic development and Innovation.
The city is expected to match the $15 million in provincial funds dedicated to the project, and is hoping to receive news of federal funding for the incubation hub soon. Start-up businesses that can't afford to lease space are expected to take advantage of the space.
So far, the city has spent a total of $9.9 million. The bulk of the spending – $8 million – went to the building and the land.
The anchor tenant will be Invest Ottawa, which has outgrown its space on Aberdeen Street.
City staff presented renderings of the building at 7 Bayview Rd. during the June 7 meeting of the finance and economic development committee. The committee designated the building as a municipal capital facility, which exempts the property from municipal and school taxes.
A grand stairwell is to be the central focus. There will also be a 300-seat auditorium, a café and a concierge on the ground floor. There will be a digital media lab, a training room and 18 meeting rooms.
The city’s post secondary institutions – Algonquin College, Carleton University, University of Ottawa and La Cité collégiale – will be represented at the centre. All four schools will be connected with the site via rail once LRT is launched.
Mayor Jim Watson said the building will emulate Communitech in Waterloo or MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.
“It will be a place where one or two entrepreneurs can take something from a dream to the next Shopify,” Watson said. “There’s no more room for incubation space at Invest Ottawa’s current location.”
The centre is slated to open in the fall.
“It’s truly going to be a remarkable building,” Watson said.