____Tuesday November 22, 2016 ____


Economic Development

Significant project "Gaslight District" announced as Backbone to ‘Back to the River’ vision

Cambridge - Last Thursday a host of dignitaries announced the details of the new Gaslight District Project, a $100+ million investment in the downtown core that is a significant piece of achieving the ‘Back to the River’ vision for the city. The project, branded as The Gaslight District in Downtown Galt will see the redevelopment and adaptive reuse of the historic Southworks and Tiger Brand properties at 64 Grand Avenue South and 96 Grand Avenue South respectively. The Gaslight District will be a complete community including new high tech office jobs, retail and restaurant space, a public square and approximately 400 new residential units. Key community partners joined Mayor Doug Craig to announce the project details of a large-scale redevelopment of the historic Southworks and Tiger Brand properties in the Galt Core, included Scott Higgins from HIP Developments, John Tibbits from Conestoga College, and Tim Ellis from Grand Innovations.

“With deep roots here, having been born and raised in Cambridge, I’ve always believed we have a truly unique Galt core that has tremendous potential to foster a work, live and play lifestyle,” stated Scott Higgins, President of local developer HIP Developments.

“Steeped in history and architecture along the banks of the Grand River, the charm of decades past has never left this place. The goal of The Gaslight District is to harness that feeling, enhance it with the creative and industrious minds in Cambridge, to show our Region, and people beyond it, how great we are and can be.

“We see The Gaslight District as the catalyst of a revived innovation and creative spirit fostering economic and social activity in Cambridge for years to come.”

The Gaslight District will reimagine and transform the historic Southworks and Tiger Brand properties into a thriving urban environment that will foster creativity and innovative thinking across multiple disciplines. It will be a mix of historic buildings and modern living where people can experience both the past and present of Cambridge. “It will be more than a place where people come to live, work and play – but a place with its own incredible vibe and pulse,” added Higgins.

The Gaslight District is set in West Galt in the heart of Cambridge. It will complement the adjacent and highly successful Dunfield Theatre, and builds on the momentum of other initiatives in the Core that include the new pedestrian bridge and Idea Exchange restoration of the Old Post office. The project is close to the Grand River and fits in well with the City and Mayor’s “Back to the River” vision to enhance and diversify development along the Grand River.

Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig spoke at the event today and was enthusiastic in his support. “The Gaslight project is a significant step forward in achieving our vision to build an innovative and dynamic city,” he said. “It will transform the downtown core into a place where people can live, work, collaborate, and contribute to our strong local economy.”

The residential and entertainment portion of The Gaslight District will be built on the existing Southworks property. It will see the adaptive re-use of the 1800’s foundry buildings to become Cambridge’s premier restaurant, entertainment and artisan destination centred around a new large European- inspired public square. The square will be the focal point of activity, containing restaurant patios, cafes, artisan displays and entertainment. Two new high-end residential buildings will be developed, adding over 600 new residents to Downtown Galt.

“This is going to be a transformational project for not only the Galt core but for the City of Cambridge,” said Joel Doherty, Director of Development for HIP Developments. “We have a grand vision for the core that will bring high tech jobs, new high-end residences and a fantastic new destination that we expect will draw people from well beyond Cambridge to enjoy the tastes and sounds in restaurants and cafes as the square comes to life with activity, local entertainment, arts and culture.”

The former Tiger Brand property will house Grand Innovations, an innovation centre supporting the development of advanced manufacturing enterprises. Conestoga College will serve as a primary partner along with Grand Innovations. The partnership will provide new opportunities for the college to expand applied research, serving as a hub for innovation and commercialization activities. Grand Innovations will be home to 100+ future high-tech jobs in a collaborative environment with a myriad of support businesses.

Dr. John Tibbits, President of Conestoga College, voiced his support for the important partnership: “The collaboration between the City of Cambridge, HIP Developments, Grand Innovations and Conestoga College will provide a continuum of business development, support services and applied research that will result in the establishment of new manufacturing enterprises, the

development of new and improved technologies, the growth and success of local Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), and new opportunities for leadership to address issues related to cyber security. We are very pleased to work with our partners to establish this new innovation hub that will serve as a catalyst for economic development for the city and the broader community.”

Conestoga’s Applied Research and Technology Hub at Grand Innovations will expand applied research activities undertaken through the college’s Centre for Smart Manufacturing, and build on current research on the development of new technologies to improve e-waste recycling. These activities will result in new products that can be commercialized by local equipment manufacturers, as well as new processes that will generate value and cost savings across a range of manufacturing operations.

The new centre will also serve as the base for Conestoga College’s emerging focus on innovation and applied research to support industry needs related to cyber security. Still in development, the Cybersecurity Zone will develop new solutions to help businesses adapt to the changes and respond effectively to the risks associated with our increasing reliance on cyber technology. At over 50,000 square feet, Grand Innovations will provide a diverse environment with turnkey office and workspace, specialized private and public support programs and workplace services, along with food services, presentation and recreation facilities.

“Grand Innovations creates an exclusive environment for applied research, innovation and enterprise creation, leveraging the assets of private, public and institutional partners to deliver solutions tailored to the needs of industry,” offered Greg Dalton, Managing Partner of Grand Innovations. “The origin and history of this icon of industrial commerce in Galt will resonate through the leading technological products, processes and services being created by resident innovators” Dalton added.

While Dalton will be responsible for operations, office & work space and co- location solutions, Tim Ellis will lead the newly formed not-for-profit operator that will organize and run the programs at Grand Innovations, serving also as the liaison between the private sector and public and institutional sectors. “I am extremely excited to be partnered with Conestoga College, City of Cambridge and HIP Developments on such an exciting development. I have believed for some time now that Cambridge is ready for a vibrant knowledge based job strategy”, said Ellis, former CEO of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre.

“I believe that my global industry experience and knowledge of creating world class innovation programs, combined with Conestoga College’s vast and expansive programs, will prove to be a winning combination, that will yield unparalleled results,” claimed Ellis.

“We are developing a totally unique and sustainable model for creating and supporting new high-growth enterprises that are formed as the result of addressing and solving industry challenges. Waterloo Region is home to many successful organizations that have had and continue to have a tremendous impact on the growth and success of the Region. The model we are creating is significantly different and services a need not currently being addressed,” Ellis affirmed.

HIP Developments is a local real estate development company based out of Waterloo, Ontario. Working together with general contractor, Melloul Blamey, HIP anticipates Grand Innovations to begin occupancy in 2017 and construction at Southworks to be completed in phases from 2018 to 2020.

“The City’s vision is clear: revitalize the downtown core, create opportunities for diverse employment, and through collaboration with our partners, leverage opportunities for increased business investment,” said Mayor Craig. “With the building of the pedestrian bridge, the transformation of the Old Post Office and more, the vision is becoming a reality.”

“This is the biggest announcement since Toyota came to Cambridge,” he continued. “Transformation is possible through collaboration, and today’s progress is a result of the critical partnerships we have with the others in this room today. A special thank you to HIP Developments for making this significant investment. I am proud that we can gather today and show our great community how we are moving forward together.”

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