The City of Guelph is making a big land buy as part of its attempt to create an innovation district in the city’s south end.

City councillors have approved moving forward with a purchase of 243 acres of land south of York Street from the province.

The lands in question are the former Wellington Detention Centre site, the Guelph Research Station property and 38 acres of undeveloped conservation lands. The Guelph Correctional Facility lands are not included in the deal.

“We’re excited to be one step closer to making the Guelph Innovation District Secondary Plan come to life, Scott Stewart, the city’s deputy chief administrative officer, said in a press release.

Once the purchase goes through, the city will look to redevelop everything except the conservation lands

The city says the innovation district will be comprised of all the lands between Victoria Road on the west, York Road to the north, Watson Parkway to the east and the city limits to the south.

Plans call for it to include an urban village with a mixed-use main street, as well as a research park.

The lands the city wants to purchase from the province represent about 23 per cent of the district’s total size.