Kitchener-Waterloo

Cambridge council approves $1 million for new tech hub

Coun. Mike Mann said that while $1 million is a lot of money for the city, it's an investment in the future and well worth it.

'It's money well spent,' Coun. Mike Mann says

An artistic rendering of part of the planned Gaslight District in Cambridge. (Grand-Innovations.com)

Cambridge councillors have approved a request for $1 million for a new tech hub in the city.

The hub is a collaboration between Conestoga College and the not-for-profit research and innovation organization Grand Innovations, and it will revamp an old factory in the Gaslight District of Galt.

"That is a lot of money for Cambridge. There's no question it's a lot of money," Coun. Mike Mann told CBC News, "but in the big scale of things, it's money well spent."

Mann said the money is an investment into a growing area of the city.

"Here we're taking a textile facility, changing it into a technical hub, and moving ahead. And I think it's a really good transition from maintaining the old and using the old and planning for the future. So I'm excited about it, because I think it's good business for our community," he said.

The seed money will be given out over a five-year period: $250,000 per year for two years to Grand Innovations and $100,000 per year for five years for Conestoga College.

Part of Gaslight District project

The hub will be located in the Gaslight District, which is a project by HIP Developments that includes condominiums, a park, and space for offices, retail and restaurants. HIP Developments says the project will cost more than $100 million.

The Gaslight District is located in the south end of the downtown core near the Southworks Outlet Mall. The district is bordered by Fraser Street to the south, Glebe Street to the west, St. Andrews Street to the north and the Grand River to the east.

Mann said the project is an exciting one for Cambridge.

"We're addressing the needs that industry have, we're addressing the needs that youth have today, we're addressing housing needs, because we're going to build a housing unit here, and we're going to have the incubator centre here and it's going to be a tech hub," he said.

"When I look at it, I think, here we are making an investment into our youth who are the leaders of tomorrow by planning and working with this development," he said. "It's an opportunity for us to grow."

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