Massive Kitchener warehouse to be revitalized as Internet of Things manufacturing center and development lab drawing innovators from around the world.
Kitchener, Ontario – June 21, 2016 – The new Catalyst137 project announced today will provide a workspace and innovation center for hardware technology companies in the Region of Waterloo and draw entrepreneurs from around the world to a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of an ecosystem already well known for innovation.
Ontario’s Waterloo Region boasts the densest collection of tech startups outside of Silicon Valley. Each year, more than two dozen hardware companies graduate from the incubator programs at the University of Waterloo. Several area companies are emerging as leading innovators for hardware and Internet of Things devices. Until now, requirements for manufacturing space and loading docks relegated hardware companies to the outskirts of Kitchener-Waterloo. With 475,000 square feet at 137 Glasgow Street in Kitchener’s Innovation District, Catalyst137 will be the largest IoT innovation center in the world.
“Innovation is thriving in Kitchener-Waterloo,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “Catalyst is yet another example of the community coming together to provide a place to nurture that innovation and help spread the success that so many here have experienced. There is nowhere else in the world that can match this area for the mix of resources supporting such a variety of technological advancement.”
Projected to cost $55 million (CAD), Catalyst137 is the result of the shared vision of Frank Voisin, President of the real estate investment firm Voisin Capital, and Kurtis McBride, CEO and co-founder of Miovision, which will relocate its headquarters to the site. The project is being co-developed by Toronto-based real estate firm Osmington Inc., which is leading the retail re-development of Toronto’s Union Station Canada’s busiest building.
“Connected devices and the Internet of Things are transforming the world,” said Voisin, whose firm has created several high-profile projects throughout Ontario. “Until now, there hasn’t been a single unifying place for hardware-focused companies to work together. Catalyst137 fills that need.”
“I am continuously amazed by the innovation coming out of Kitchener-Waterloo,” said Lawrence Zucker President and CEO of Osmington. “We feel fortunate to have been approached by Frank and Kurtis to work on this this project which will help lead the world into the next generation of technology and demonstrate the amazing things Canada is capable of. We are very supportive of young entrepreneurs and this project is an incredible opportunity to accelerate the growth of the Kitchener/Waterloo Region as Canada’s Technology hub.”
Startups from all over the world will be invited to benefit from centralized investment, consulting, manufacturing, engineering, government relations and other services, to be consolidated under one 12-acre roof.
The finished space will feature hundreds of sensors to make the building and streetscape hackable so that Catalyst137 can act as both a showcase of the region’s technical ingenuity and a sandbox for new innovation. By allowing Catalyst137 members to experiment with and add to the building’s IoT network, the accelerator hopes to help foster new ideas and support emerging technology.
“Catalyst137 is going to help forward-thinking entrepreneurs and engineers transform their great ideas into successful, international businesses, just like we were able to with Miovision,” said McBride. “We’re proud to anchor the building and help build a space to help makers compete globally. Catalyst137 will make it possible for us to one day say that much of the Internet of Things industry was invented in the Waterloo Region.”
Catalyst137 will offer area businesses options to join a community of startup peers and will lease office spaces ranging from 3,000 to 50,000 square feet. Companies will have access to loading bays and a shared manufacturing space featuring 3D printers, laser cutters, metalworking equipment and more.
Once completed in the summer of 2017, Voisin Capital will manage the real estate side of the project, and Miovision will handle the technology ecosystem, turning the building and its surrounding area into a sensor-packed, tech-friendly space.
Catalyst137 will be located just 3 kilometers southeast of the University of Waterloo and about 1 kilometer west of Google’s new Kitchener headquarters and Communitech, the region’s technology hub and accelerator center. The historic Iron Horse Trail runs adjacent to the site providing convenient access along the region’s busiest pedestrian corridor.
Locally, it will provide a place for companies to locate near downtown Kitchener, and it will help revitalize a section of the Belmont Village neighborhood as a new restaurant, bar, coffee shop and gym will be part of the project.
“This project will have huge significance on both the local and global level,” said McBride. “Catalyst137 will transform the surrounding neighborhood, and it has the potential to transform the hardware technology industry for the region and the world.”
For more information, visit catalyst-137.com