23 September 2016

The Life Sciences Multi-Tenant Building Project to Take Shape this Fall

PRESS RELEASE – Sherbrooke Innopole is pleased to announce that the multi-tenant building project for life sciences businesses, identified as infrastructure essential to meeting the needs of young entrepreneurs, will become a reality in the coming months.

The building, to be constructed in the Sherbrooke Science Park, will facilitate the retention of startups emerging from the University Pole, and, at the same time, enhance the sector’s vitality and its attractiveness to foreign companies. The project will entail $5.5M in investments, and its business plan forecasts the creation of 60 jobs within the next 5 years.

Yesterday, Sherbrooke Innopole obtained the approval of the Sherbrooke City Council to go forward with the final version of its project. “We explored a number of different business models, before proposing a viable project that not only respects the financial capacity of young companies but also limits the investment of public funds,” explained Josée Fortin, Director General of Sherbrooke Innopole. “To do so, we have involved several partners in the project to share expertise, as well as financial and human resources.”

The Comité de promotion industrielle de Brompton (CPIB – Brompton’s industrial promotion committee) will be the property’s owner and manager. “We have been supporting business development for 30 years, by making buildings and floor space available to companies at competitive prices,” pointed out Paul Proulx, CPIB Chairman.  “We firmly believe that this project is vital to our economy, and our involvement perfectly aligns with our vocation and our expertise in real estate management.”

For its part, the Comité de promotion industrielle de Sherbrooke (CPIS – Sherbrooke’s industrial promotion committee) will be in charge of managing the building’s construction and will contribute to the down payment required to get the project up and running. “It is our mission to contribute to asset maintenance and the creation of industrial jobs in Sherbrooke,” noted Jean-Paul Longchamps, CPIS Chairman. “Given our vast experience in the construction of industrial buildings, we have offered not only to help establish the financing package but also to manage the construction project.”

As the project’s initiator and coordinating manager, Sherbrooke Innopole will be responsible for coordinating all aspects of getting the project off the ground and will be in charge of recruiting, selecting, and aiding companies that will set up operations in the multi-tenant building. Sherbrooke Innopole will also contribute to the initial down payment for the construction of the building and to the acquisition of equipment.

To ensure the viability of the project, and the competitiveness of its rental offer vis-à-vis other regions, the City of Sherbrooke’s support was indispensable. This involved providing the loan guarantee, selling the land under favourable terms and conditions, and contributing funds for the project’s down payment and operating budget.

Sherbrooke Mayor Bernard Sévigny emphasized the fact that every year the Université de Sherbrooke produces a dozen business projects, many of them in the Life Sciences sector. “We have the good fortune of having a rich entrepreneurial ecosystem, with a major university pole, dynamic economic development organizations – including two business accelerators – and relationships with international partners,” he stated. “It was vital that Sherbrooke become equipped with the appropriate infrastructure to keep businesses here.”

A number of startups, temporarily located in the facilities of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the Université de Sherbrooke, have formally indicated their intention to move in or demonstrated an interest in locating in the multi-tenant building. This building will provide them with shared, equipped premises at an affordable, pay-as-you-grow rate over five years. These companies will also have the opportunity to take advantage of the services offered by the Espace-inc. incubator based on the same eligibility criteria as businesses on Marquette Street.

“We conducted surveys and an extensive market study, which clearly showed the need,” noted Josée Fortin.  “But given that public investment is required, we decided to be very conservative in our forecasts, and to propose a project in several phases. The list of companies and institutions interested in moving in over the short and medium term clearly shows that this economic development tool is essential to ensuring the growth of the Life Sciences sector.” She also stated that, in recent years, the absence of appropriate rental offers was responsible for the departure of two businesses and for the loss of four projects ready to get started.

The building, covering 20 000 sq. ft. over two floors, will contain offices of various dimensions, private laboratories and shared laboratories featuring a range of specialized equipment, as well as common areas like a conference room, lounge area, and loading dock.

With most of the formalities completed, the call-for-tenders process will be initiated as soon as the project has received all of the required approvals. The goal is to start construction as soon as possible, with a view to occupancy in spring 2017.

Sources: Sherbrooke Innopole and Ville de Sherbrooke

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Sherbrooke Innopole’s mandate ends on March 31, 2024. We invite you to contact Entreprendre Sherbrooke or the Service du développement économique of the Ville de Sherbrooke for further services.
Thank you to all Sherbrooke industrial and technological businesses, as well as to all our partners for the trust granted since 2009!