Taking yet another step into the technology industry, the University of Toronto (U of T) recently announced its plans to build a brand new “innovation centre” in downtown Toronto.

The centre will be home to the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the university’s entrepreneurship office as well start-up companies and university partners, stated the release.

The 250,00 square foot space will replace the school’s existing building at the corner of College Street and University Avenue and according to the release will significantly increase its capacity to “impact the Canadian economy.”

Rendering of phase one of the of innovation centre. Source: University of Toronto

U of T has produced more than 500 companies that have collectively generated more than $1 billion in investment in the past decade. Since 2010, the university has also filed more than 400 patent applications and negotiated over 250 license agreements related to technologies developed by its researchers,” stated the release.

Set to be a two-phase project, the first tower will be 14 stories tall and consist of office and instructional spaces as well as meeting rooms, lounges and public areas.  

Rendering of the inside of the innovation building
Source: University of Toronto
Rendering of the inside of the innovation building
Source: University of Toronto

The university is hoping the layout will create an environment where students, entrepreneurs and industry leaders can interact and collaborate.

“If you purpose-build a building to support interaction, collaboration and the growth of spin-off companies, you get a much higher success rate,” explained University of Toronto’s vice-president of operations Scott Mabury, in the release.

This announcement came almost a week before the University of Toronto also announced a artificial intelligence (AI) partnership with LG Electronics Inc., which ITBusiness.ca reported on as a new collaborative research lab. 

The university continues to delve into the world of technology as it calls this project an expansion of other existing partnerships, including one with the MaRS Innovation Members Institute.

Designed by the New York-based Weiss/Manfredi Architects and Toronto’s Teeple Architects, the first building is expected to be completed in 2021.

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