In 2015, Miovision began the search for a new home. We had grown substantially and needed a space that could grow with us. Our checklist was simple, or so we thought. Find a location in the core of the city, ensure that it was accessible by foot, bike and public transportation, provide some basic amenities like coffee shops and food, have ample free parking, a manufacturing space and loading docks for transport trucks. Not so hard, right? It turns out we were looking for a unicorn.
We searched for months, and finally resorted to scouring a Google Earth view of the city to look for potential properties. That was when we spotted 137 Glasgow Street, a 475,000 sq. ft. former tire plant in the heart of Kitchener, situated near a future Light Rail Transit (LRT) stop with tons of amenities and ample parking. It was also a flexible location, with the potential to provide extra space as we grew. Unicorns DO exist.
But 475,000 sq.ft.is a lot of space for one company.
We realized that if we were having difficulties securing appropriate space, than other manufacturers might be having the same challenges.The Waterloo region is teeming with hardware talent due in-part to the right-sizing of BlackBerry. The IoT ecosystem (or as I like to call it, the device-driven software space) has been relegated to the burbs because of our distinct needs in manufacturing. Plentiful space for software companies in the core, not so much for hardware.
Along with Frank Voisin from Voisin Capital – who is quickly gaining a reputation for developing spaces for high-tech companies in town – we set out on a path to redevelop Glasgow 137 into a vibrant space that will be home to more than 35 businesses. And because our vision was to create a space that would catalyze IoT businesses, we called it Catalyst137.
The project is being co-developed by Toronto-based real estate firm Osmington Inc., which is leading the retail re-development of Toronto’s Union Station, Canada’s busiest building.
When complete, Catalyst137 will be the largest IoT innovation center in the world. But it will be more than just a building. It will be a community of makers; the services needed to make these makers successful on a global scale; a showcase for smart building and smart city technology; a sandbox for hardware ingenuity; and the programming to help IoT start-ups become scale-ups.
Miovision is proud to be Catalyst137’s first tenant. Join us and be part of a movement to make KW the world’s epicenter for IoT.