The city of Ottawa is poised to buy a new office tower that could be built to house an ambitious research-and-development hub for Canada’s emerging technology industry.
The city has already secured a 30-year lease on the 890-metre-tall building on the site of the former Ottawa Municipal Building, which was converted into a research and development hub for companies such as BDI Canada.
The project is expected to cost up to $3.5 billion, according to a city press release.
The announcement comes as Ottawa prepares to host its second annual conference on Canada’s Emerging Technology Sector, set for Oct. 19.
The annual conference will showcase Canada’s top emerging technology companies and provide the country’s top entrepreneurs with a platform to showcase their innovative ideas and innovations.
“It is an exciting opportunity for the City of Ottawa and our business community to collaborate with industry and other partners in the area of research and technology,” Mayor Jim Watson said in a release.
“This will create the first publicly-owned office in the country, and will bring significant economic benefits to the region and to the city.”
The project, which will be known as the BDI campus, is expected take up the entirety of the current vacant Ottawa Municipal Centre, and could also be the site for a second tower of the city’s new $1.4-billion Science Park.
In 2015, the city leased the space from the former government for $2.9 million.
BDI plans to turn the site into a hub for the technology sector, including offices, labs and a retail space.
The office building will include an open-air learning center for students, a meeting and conference facility and a research lab.
BDO, a Toronto-based company, has been working on the project since the early 2000s and has also been in discussions with Ottawa about a new building on site.
The company, which is based in the United States, says the site’s existing parking capacity could be utilized for the new facility, although the city said it’s not in a position to discuss plans for an office tower on the property.
The BDI office is the second of its kind to be announced in the region.
Ottawa’s first office tower was built in 2000 to house the Ottawa Civic Centre and the city office.
Ottawa has also leased space on the former Municipal Building for the Ottawa Police Department, the Canadian Space Agency and the City’s Emergency Medical Services.