Read all about it! Entrepreneurs wanted for Free Press building
'This is a continuation of my vision to make our downtown a world class urban core,' says Shmuel Farhi
London will soon be home to one of the largest entrepreneurship hubs in the province, according to investors and business leaders working to transform the landmark London Free Press building.
The location at 369 York Street will be transformed into a centre called Venture London with tenants that include Tech Alliance and the London Small Business Centre.
Farhi Holdings Corporation is footing the $20-million bill to retrofit the 180,000 square foot facility that will provide entrepreneurs with one-stop access to supports, services and workshops. Future plans include a restaurant and street-level retail spaces.
"This is a continuation of my vision to make our downtown a world class urban core," said Shmuel Farhi, president of Farhi Holdings Corporation.
"I've long believed that downtown is the heart and soul of every community … this is why Venture London is one of the best investments that I can make to help realize our shared future."
No public money has been allocated to the project.
Entrepreneurs will have in-house access to legal and financial services, including capital investment opportunities.
"[The] partnership will provide office space, event space, and a number of other multipurpose amenities that will help start-ups scale and realize their potential to success," said Amir Farahi, Project Manager and Executive Director of the London Institute.
Plans for the facility also include shared green spaces for the public and tenants, larges windows, a two-storey atrium and a roof-top patio.
Tribute to Free Press
The redesign marks the beginning of a new era for the London Free Press that has occupied the building for more than 50 years.
In honour of the newspaper, the entrance to the hub will incorporate a gallery that will pay tribute to the London Free Press.
While there's no word on when the paper is moving to its new location on Dundas Street, inside the former Pathways Skills Development building, renovation work is slated to begin in May.
The first tenants are slated to move in late 2018.