Welcome Guest!
WIn order to take advantage of all the great features that Waterloo Region Connected has to offer, including participating in the lively discussions below, you're going to have to register. The good news is that it'll take less than a minute and you can get started enjoying Waterloo Region's best online community right away.
or Create an Account




Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Startup District
#1
Startup District
Reply
#2
Startup district
May 21, 2014 | Bob Vrbanac | Waterloo Chronicle | Link

Quote:It’s still in the idea stage, but the City of Waterloo and University of Waterloo are in discussions to turn the former BlackBerry campus on Columbia Street into the gateway for a new startup district.

The disposition of the former real estate holdings of BlackBerry have been a hot topic since the Waterloo-based company announced plans in January to divest itself of the properties. The University of Waterloo was the first to jump on the opportunity spending $41 million to purchase five office buildings and a combined 300,000 square feet of space from the BlackBerry campus at the corner of Columbia and Phillip Streets.

Two of those building were leased back to BlackBerry for up to five years, and UW spokesman Nick Manning said some of the other office space is being converted to administrative use by the university for occupancy in the coming months.

But Manning said the university is also early in the process of investigating it’s potential as a startup district that would be both a recruitment tool for the school while supporting the innovation and commercialization of ideas that are coming from Waterloo’s campus.

“The IBM Smarter Cities took a look at Northdale and the ideas come very much from our participation in that,” said Manning about the startup district idea.

Northdale is the neighbourhood just north of the university campus that has been undergoing a transformation from a student ghetto to a mixed use and modern development that hopes to serve the Waterloo of tomorrow. Part of that is to create business and other opportunities to drive that development, and UW is in the thick of that discussion said Manning.

“It’s not just about the corner we own, it’s about thinking about that part of Northdale and exploring opportunities for economic development there,” he said.

The idea that has drawn the most interest is enhancing the services the university provides for entrepreneurship. It’s part of UW’s strategic plan to support programs, specialties and expertise the university creates to foster new businesses.

“How can we use those new buildings and the space that we’ve got in the Columbia and Phillip Street area to enhance the provisions we’ve got for entrepreneurship,” said Manning.

Some of that potential is already coming to fruition. Tim Ellis, former CEO of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre, along with his partner Michael Wekerle have purchased the BlackBerry building across the street from the potential startup district as a landing pad for startups. It will also serve as a launching pad for a new $200-million venture capital fund administered by Difference Capital focusing on local startups.

“It’s going to be an incubation hub,” said Justin McFadden, the city’s director of economic development. “That will help the companies grow they’re investing in. They’re going to be a landing pad that will take in companies that they invest in and they will reside there while providing all sorts of mentoring and other services.

“That’s right across the street from the buildings that the University of Waterloo has acquired and is feeding into the discussion about how to evolve that space from the university’s perspective.”

He said there’s been a lot of confidence shown in the area with the tentative sale of the rest of BlackBerry’s properties to Spear Street Capital for $305 million. Spear Street Capital is a major player in the real estate market in Silicon Valley in California and other tech hubs in the U.S. “That’s a nice endorsement that they’re making with this investment,” said McFadden.

A more formal discussion about the future of the Columbia Street is coming to Waterloo council on July 14.

“An entrepreneurship hub is one of the ideas that is coming to the forefront of that discussion,” said McFadden. “There’s a lot happening that area today and it feeds into turning that into a entrepreneurial, high-tech hub.”
Reply
#3
Sounds a lot like the Innovation District in Kitchener to me.
Reply
#4
Maybe it's time to appeal to non-tech startups? This might be a good place to put in the 'Hope Campus' for not-for-profits that was going to be built near King and Ottawa.
Reply
#5
DHLawrence Wrote:Maybe it's time to appeal to non-tech startups? This might be a good place to put in the 'Hope Campus' for not-for-profits that was going to be built near King and Ottawa.

Ya I occasionally fear that our economy is becoming too one dimensional. Maybe someone in the industry can comment more?
Reply
#6
Spokes Wrote:Ya I occasionally fear that our economy is becoming too one dimensional. Maybe someone in the industry can comment more?

Tech is such a broad space, though. Here's some of the work from relatively new local offices that comes to mind: enterprise education systems, ad optimization, social media platforms, user input devices, traffic count systems, building navigation devices, human resources systems.

To be clear, there are federal tax credits and nearby sources of engineering talent that both support local tech companies, but I don't think we're talking about a one dimensional economy.
Reply
#7
mpd618 Wrote:
Spokes Wrote:Ya I occasionally fear that our economy is becoming too one dimensional. Maybe someone in the industry can comment more?

Tech is such a broad space, though. Here's some of the work from relatively new local offices that comes to mind: enterprise education systems, ad optimization, social media platforms, user input devices, traffic count systems, building navigation devices, human resources systems.

To be clear, there are federal tax credits and nearby sources of engineering talent that both support local tech companies, but I don't think we're talking about a one dimensional economy.

Pending a new thread for "non high tech economic/manufacturing news" (not sure what to call it) this article from today's Record about Barbarian clothing seems on point. There have been a good number of reports about growth in our local manufacturing sector over the past year. Mostly small-scale stuff, but still.....

http://www.therecord.com/news-story/480 ... ing-again/
Reply
#8
All growth is good growth.

I've started a General Business News thread. I had meant to do so sooner. (On that note, if there's any threads that we need, and there are lots, post them here and we'll take care of it.)
Reply
#9
Math whizzes leave MIT to launch game startup
Waterloo Region Record
By  Terry Pender

... Grant, Ma and Alex Rice are the co-founders of Lunarch Studios, which was incorporated a year ago to build out a game they call Prismata.
...
http://www.therecord.com/news-story/5182...e-startup/
Reply
#10
(12-05-2014, 01:12 PM)panamaniac Wrote: Math whizzes leave MIT to launch game startup
Waterloo Region Record
By  Terry Pender

... Grant, Ma and Alex Rice are the co-founders of Lunarch Studios, which was incorporated a year ago to build out a game they call Prismata.
...
http://www.therecord.com/news-story/5182...e-startup/

Not the first to leave MIT to build games: http://all-things-andy-gavin.com/bio/ (Crash Bandicoot). We've also had game companies in the region, but not founded by MIT dropouts. Best of luck to them.
Reply
« Next Oldest | Next Newest »



Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

About Waterloo Region Connected

Launched in August 2014, Waterloo Region Connected is an online community that brings together all the things that make Waterloo Region great. Waterloo Region Connected provides user-driven content fueled by a lively discussion forum covering topics like urban development, transportation projects, heritage issues, businesses and other issues of interest to those in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and the four Townships - North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot, and Woolwich.

              User Links