A centre for excellence in artificial intelligence is coming to Mile-Ex
Complex is called O Mile Ex and is at the corner of St-Urbain and St-Zotique streets
In an old Mile-Ex textile factory, a grouping of research labs, artificial intelligence companies and multimedia organizations are gathering under one roof as part of a new centre of excellence in artificial intelligence.
The complex, called O Mile Ex, is at the corner of St-Urbain and St-Zotique streets. Its tenants are set to move in by the end of the year.
Some companies already occupy the space, including Cirque du Soleil's multimedia company 4U2C, video game company Behaviour and neuroscience research lab Rogue Research.
Newcomers will include the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), French aerospace company Thales Group, and artificial intelligence solutions provider Element AI, which was co-founded by renowned computer scientist Yoshua Bengio.
Artificial intelligence a priority for city
The centre's creation was announced last month at a Chamber of Commerce forum by Pierre Boivin, the co-chair of the steering committee for Quebec's artificial intelligence research cluster.
Last May, the Quebec government announced it would invest $100 million in developing a strategic plan for the 12-person committee, according to Université de Montréal.
"This centre will create an ecosystem where all stakeholders in the value chain will be able to work together," Boivin told RDI Economics.
"The big advantage is the proximity, the constant exchange of ideas."
The centre is meant to allow Montreal to become a world leader in artificial intelligence.
A building designed to entice
The centre will integrate a two-building complex that once housed the Main Knitting textile factory that closed in 2008.
The 400,000 square-foot space was vacant until the real estate developer TGTA and its partners acquired it in 2014.
Major renovations are underway in an effort to recruit prestigious tenants — the real estate project is worth $60 million in total.
"It's exciting to see a project that will attract the companies of tomorrow," said Martin Galarneau, a TGTA associate.
O Mile Ex features a high-efficiency heating heating system and a white roof, which helps reduce the effects of heat islands. It also has indoor parking for bicycles and charging stations for electric vehicles are also expected to be added.
On top of that, the centre's workers will have access to a daycare, an exercise room in which to do yoga and Pilates, a play area with a ping-pong table and foosball, and a catering service run by Martin Juneau, chef and owner of Pastaga restaurant.
Galarneau added that O Mile Ex's location is an asset, too. Located near Little Italy and Jean-Talon Market, the centre is surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants.
"The companies in the new economy, the people who work there, are looking to work in this sector."
With files from Radio-Canada's Olivier Bachand