'Waterloo Commons' could bring thousands of jobs
CTV Southwestern Ontario
Published Wednesday, February 22, 2012 6:45PM EST
A massive development planned for the former NCR property in Waterloo could bring thousands of jobs to the city.
'Waterloo Commons' is expected to be a campus-like setting with a mix of high-end office space, retail and possibly a hotel.
Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran says "To have the support and the trust and belief of the investment community and developers in Waterloo is a great feeling."
The 40 acre site at Northfield Drive West and Weber Street North currently hosts a large manufacturing building.
Over the next five to eight years, developers plan to create 600,000 sq. ft. of office space and a hotel has expressed interest in the location.
A grocery store, restaurants, coffee shop and possibly a medical centre could also be included in the project, and all those new businesses mean new jobs.
John Whitney with DTZ Barnicke says "We could have 4,000, 4,500 people on this site in the next 10 years."
Preliminary work is underway at the site, negotiations with prospective tenants have begun and the first businesses could be on site by the end of 2012.
Halloran says "It's going to be quite an exciting development and they came to us."
The project is valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars and could attract international interest and investment.
Whitney says "What's great here is we'll see some signature office buildings here…so it may even bring people in from out of town, people that want the Waterloo experience."
The fund backing the project is using a high tech approach, Communitech's Reality Cave virtual environment to market the property.
"They're not building it yet, so you're not spending all kinds of money changing work orders…it allows people to really design the space they are wanting, not what somebody else thinks they want," Whitney says.
The property has great access, the proposed LRT will stop there and it's one of Waterloo's last big employment areas suitable for redevelopment.