KITCHENER -- The City of Kitchener has officially approved a partnership with the University of Waterloo to build a multi-million dollar Health Sciences Campus.

The city said the building is part of the Make It Kitchener 2.0 economic development strategy. The new building will go into a vacant 90,000-square-foot warehouse in downtown Kitchener.

“In 2016, we invested in the UW Velocity program to expand their space and ability to support our growing health technology start-ups and scaleup ecosystem,” Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said in a news release. “The results have been amazing and have created new local businesses and jobs, expanding the local ecosystem, while also encouraging millions of dollars in private sector investments. The current pandemic has brought this sector to the forefront, and we’re excited to now be able to be a part of an even bigger expansion which will allow us to build back better as we recover in a post-COVID-19 world.”

The building will have collaborative space for entrepreneurs, researchers and students.

In the release, city officials said they believe it will create 75 new high growth med-tech start-ups and 50 health tech scale-ups, bringing more than 800 jobs to the region.

“This expansion will reinforce Kitchener’s place among the global leaders in health innovation, an area that our community recognized as a key focus for our economic strategy,” said Cory Bluhm, executive director of economic development for the City of Kitchener. “Entrepreneurs and creators will have access to space, and industry equipment unlike anything else around.”

The building will have a shared wet lab, biosafety labs and simulated clinical operating rooms and space for manufacturing equipment and collaboration.

The building is expected to cost $35 million. The City of Kitchener will invest $8.5 million and the university will supply $11.5 million. It will need additional financial support from other levels of government.

Around 5,000 square feet will be for the city for health innovation program and partnership with the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre.