Photo: Camille King/Flickr
Facebook will be moving its Canadian headquarters in Toronto from Yonge and Eglinton to the downtown core’s MaRS Discovery District. The move, announced Wednesday, will see the social media behemoth occupy the West Tower of the site at University Avenue and College Street.
“In addition to being a tenant at MaRS, Facebook will be a strategic partner working with our venture services group to gain insight and access to our community of entrepreneurs and thinkers,” said Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District, in a news release.
MaRS, which stands for Medical and Related Sciences, is an independent registered charity that first launched in 2005. Home to 1.5-million square feet of space in a corner of Toronto known for its cluster of research facilities, MaRS’ mandate is to create an innovation hub and is currently home to a number of startups as well as the Canadian headquarters of other major tech companies such as Airbnb.
Facebook, which is used by 20 million Canadians, announced it was looking for a space that reflected its culture “which is large and open and interactive and collaborative and part of something much greater than just Facebook.”
The 20-storey West Tower was the second phase of the MaRS Discovery District and construction started in 2007. However, after the recession hit and the area experienced a glut of new lab spaces, the US-based developer Alexandria Real Estate stopped work on the building in 2009. The Government of Ontario faced criticism for changing its infrastructure loan program in order to provide a $224-million construction loan for MaRS and later bought out Alexandria’s stake for $65 million. An additional $86 million was spent to complete the office tower.
The West Tower, home to 780,000 square foot of space, was completed in early 2014. The Financial Post is reporting that Treurnicht will announce more new tenants for the building soon.