November 18, 2015 10:49 am
Updated: November 18, 2015 5:47 pm

New tenant in MaRS tower brings occupancy to 84 per cent


TORONTO — Autodesk Inc., a 3D design, engineering and entertainment software company, has found a new home in the west tower of the MaRS Discovery District bringing the innovation centre to 84 per cent occupancy.

The 3D software company has been involved in creation of blockbuster Hollywood flicks like Harry Potter and the Hobbit and will move from its current home on King Street East and take residence in the MaRS innovation centre.

Autodesk will occupy the second and third floors of the tower and plans to accommodate more than 250 employees.

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The move was made official in an announcement Wednesday morning with Mayor John Tory, Minister of Research and Innovation Reza Moridi and Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Brad Duguid.

“Today is the day where we have cross the threshold…today is the day we can declare victory. Today is the day we can say definitively without any shadow of a doubt – for any of you in this room that believed in the MaRS tower two dream – folks we did it,” Dugiud said.

“This is what the MaRS vision is all about… this is what building a strong economy in today’s disruptive world is all about.”

MaRS Discovery district has struggled filling space in recent years and has received over $224-million in loans from the provincial government.

READ MORE: Premier Kathleen Wynne defends $224 million loan to MaRS

In Dec. 2014, the west tower building was only 31 per cent leased. Critics say the building has failed to deliver on its original concept.

“When you look at the whole history, this was intended as a development to incubate medical and related services and it’s been a failure at that,” said Progressive Conservative MPP Randy Hillier.

“The building was over built and over designed and there was no private sector market for leasing those sorts of facilities and if it wasn’t for the continued subsidies and payments by the Ontario taxpayer … the building would be bankrupt.”

The 3D software company will join companies like FaceBook Canada and JLABS who are also located in the innovation centre at College Street and University Avenue.

“I am thrilled at this opportunity,” said Gordon Kurtenbach, senior director of research at Autodesk.

“What better place for Autodesk – really a bunch of tool makers keen to invent the future – what better place to set up shop than in MaRS, which is one of the largest innovation hubs in the world, whose mission is to develop a whole generation of innovators.”

Mayor John Tory said the move has the potential to bring more jobs to the city.

“There is a recognition globally, that Toronto is one of the places in the world where the future is,” Tory said,

“We have continued to evolve as a centre of innovation. We have the advantage … where the financial centre and the innovation centre are located in one place … and I think we have an incredible talent pool here that people around the world recognize.”

Officials were unable to confirm how many jobs will be created by the new move.

Autodesk says they will officially move in Sept. 2016.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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