July 7, 2015
Innovation Centre, Ottawa

The building at Bayview Trainyards, between Scott Street and the Ottawa River Parkway, was built in 1941 and will soon begin a dramatic makeover to become the much anticipated Ottawa Innovation Centre. The process of transformation began some time ago as a group of community leaders, including Mayor Jim Watson, identified the space and recognized its potential.

A non-profit corporation was established to manage the project budget and planning began. Operating with a 99 year lease from the City of Ottawa, The Innovation Centre will be governed by an oversight agency — the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards — that will manage day-to-day operation, public and corporate relations and communications. The Centre itself is governed by a board of directors which includes the presiding Mayor of Ottawa.

The project, a redevelopment of close to 46,000 square feet of old, empty factory, requires careful preparation. Once the board and plan were in place, the group moved to the design build requirements for phase one of the project, working with Chmiel Architects to develop a comprehensive RFP package that would speak to the building’s unique character, heritage features, LEED considerations, and other distinctive elements.

As advocate architects, Chmiel Architects worked with site plan reports under Innovation Centre Board direction to develop the comprehensive Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFP was developed to invite Design/Build bidders who would understand and work to preserve the integrity of the site and existing structure.

The initial design for phase one will include office space for Invest Ottawa, The Innovation Centre’s anchor tenant, as well as other corporate and rental office space, in addition to facilities and resources that support entrepreneurialism, networking, mentoring and professional services, and many other amenities – including a café, green rooftop and “techno-lounge” — that will be open to the public.

The design build contract for Phase one – with an expected completion of Summer 2016 – has been awarded to Ottawa-based developer Morley Hoppner. Phase two – if approved – may include a new 180,000 square foot tower in the courtyard but will only move ahead once phase one is complete and prospering.