Excitement builds for the Waterfront Innovation Centre

March 9, 2015

With great fanfare and media coverage, Menkes Developments, Waterfront Toronto and political dignitaries from all levels of government announced the new Waterfront Innovation Centre to be built by sugar beach.

"This complex will offer a cutting-edge, collaborative work environment that responds to the changing needs of the workplace and the demand for high quality office space supported by fast and cost-effective technology infrastructure." said Peter Menkes, President of the Commercial/Industrial Division at Menkes. "It is a one-of-a-kind commercial office development that will redefine how innovative, market-leading companies conduct their business in our city."

Viewing the Waterfront Innovation Centre from a northern perspective with Queens Quay in the foreground, the 4 components of the complex are highlighted in different colours. At the base of the complex is street level retail space (shaded in orange), which will serve both the needs of the tenants above and surrounding community, and contribute to the vibrancy of the streetlife along Queens Quay. Shaded in red, the Exchange is the western-most block of the complex with a very striking shape and fa├žade. The vision for this portion of the complex includes state-of-the-art meeting, presentation, interactive learning, conference, and restaurant facilities that can be accessed by all of the tenants. It is highly unusual for a complex to offer these resources to companies that inhabit them, and this represents a significant benefit for smaller organizations that would otherwise not have access to these amenities. The vision also includes the ability for external organizations to access the unique, world-class services which further differentiates this project from others in the city.

The next component is the Hive, which is the eastern-most block of the complex shaded in blue. This is the private office space that will be leased to tenants. The Hive will offer efficient, flexible, 30,000 square foot floorplates that can easily be configured to meet the needs of growing companies. We will have a raised floor system that allows tenants to plug in power, data and cabling at any location on the floor with no impediments. And for employees, the space is designed to allow for more natural light and better air quality, which will enhance their health and productivity.

The last component is the Nexus, which is shaded in yellow. The Nexus is the atrium that extends through the complex both vertically and horizontally, and effectively will serve as a public link between the Exchange and the Hive. The driving principle behind the Nexus is that social interaction is vital to fostering networking, collaboration and ultimately innovation. With this in mind, the Nexus will provide informal spaces and retail services that draw people together.

"Our commercial division has built over 25 million square feet of office and industrial space in the GTA with an ongoing dedication to sustainable green building development and management." said Menkes. "We kickstarted development in the new South Core community adjacent to Union Station with the LEED Platinum Telus House at 25 York Street and are currently building Sun Life's new headquarters at 1 York Street which is also targeting LEED Platinum status."

The Waterfront Innovation Centre will be the gateway to Waterfront Toronto's grand vision for the East Bayfront community. Being located on a revitalized waterfront, adjacent to Canada's Sugar Beach, and with the Corus building, George Brown College, and numerous new condominium towers as its neighbours, the Waterfront Innovation Centre will be part of an exciting, mixed-used community. By 2021, it's estimated that an additional 20,000 new residents will be living within half a mile of this site. And with the completion of the new Queens Quay LRT, this area will be a first class location and even more accessible.

All of these elements are very attractive to companies looking for office space. In today's business world, employees want to be located in the heart of the action, and not outside of it. The geographical separation between workplaces, residences and leisure activities are blurred. People want to be in fully-integrated, true mixed-use, live-work-play communities, and the East Bayfront fits the bill perfectly.