A multiresidential housing component was always planned for the McMaster Innovation Park (MIP) in Hamilton, but now its developer wants more.
Current zoning allows for residential uses on the employment lands to amount to eight per cent of overall gross floor area in a maximum of two buildings. MIP, however, has asked Hamilton city council and staff for permission to boost that to 15 per cent and have 524 residential units in buildings of 26, 22 and 14 storeys.
“As the innovation park has evolved and the density has increased for life sciences, the appropriate ratio of 15 per cent of the GFA was requested as a revision based on a residential study,” MIP vice-president of development and design Frances Grabowski said in an email interview with RENX.
City staff members are fine with the 15 per cent proportion, but recommend holding the number of residential buildings at two and locating them at the northeast part of the site, according to an article in The Hamilton Spectator.
McMaster Innovation Park prefers purpose-built rental
A residential study completed in 2021 by B.Lyons identified the need for rental units and not condominiums at MIP, according to Grabowski. Young families and professionals are the target demographic, but no unit sizes or mixes have been decided.
Grabowski said the intent is to partner with other developers to build the apartments, but this also hasn’t been finalized.
Other elements focusing on the functional and cultural requirements of MIP are also planned.
“This includes amenities, green space, connectivity, walking trails and bike paths, and related services to meet the needs of our park-wide community,” said Grabowski.
MIP is also working with the YWCA.
Anticipated timelines for approvals, construction and occupancy are still under review.
Innovation is in MIP’s name for a reason
MIP is pursuing a 2.8-million-square-foot expansion on top of its current 700,000 square feet to scale up life sciences innovation, commercialization and manufacturing.
This includes 1.3 million square feet dedicated to life sciences and lab space, including the 44 Frid St. location that’s being actively leased to lab users.
The 58-acre west Hamilton MIP site overlooking Highway 403 is home to more than 100 companies in the life sciences, engineering, advanced manufacturing and high-tech sectors.
“MIP’s proven ability to support and grow small and mid-size enterprises results in faster, more economically impactful, and lower-risk investments for government and private investors alike,” said Grabowski.
MIP is currently comprised of:
– the 186,000-square-foot The Atrium @MIP, which is occupied by more than 70 businesses, at 175 Longwood Rd. S.;
– McMaster Automotive Resource Centre, which researches and tests cars, at 200 Longwood Rd. S.;
– CanmetMATERIALS, a research centre specializing in metals and materials fabrication, at 183 Longwood Rd. S.;
– The Hamilton Spectator’s former building, which has been retrofitted to become a life sciences-focused building with wet labs, at 44 Frid St.;
– The Glass Warehouse @MIP, a mixed-use facility including office and lab space, retail, a beverage innovation centre and an art gallery at 606 Aberdeen Ave.;
– BEAM Centre, home to Fusion Pharmaceuticals, at 270 Longwood Rd. S.; and
– Gowling WLG @MIP, which will serve as the Hamilton office of law firm Gowling WLG, at 191 Longwood Rd. S.
It was announced on March 31 that Invest Ontario is providing OmniaBio Inc. with about $40 million as a loan as part of a new 250,000-square-foot, $580-million bio-manufacturing facility on Longwood Road which will be part of MIP.
One building is scheduled for completion in 2024 and the second a year later. The firm is expected to employ at least 250.
The Ontario government would like to see life sciences employment in the province rise by about 25 per cent to 85,000 by 2030.