Microsoft Research Montreal moving to former pizza factory

Microsoft Research Montreal will relocate its state-of-the-art lab and office to a new facility in Mile-Ex being developed by Canderel and Claridge.

According to Renx, the facility at 6795 Marconi is expected to open in the fall of 2019 in Mile-Ex, the city’s “new artificial intelligence hub.”

Microsoft made the announcement Wednesday. It is the second major announcement for the tech giant in the past two weeks, coming on the heels of a multi-pronged announcement which includes moving Microsoft Canada’s head office from suburban Mississauga to the new CIBC Square in downtown Toronto, noted Renx.

“The fundamental principle in designing this project was to be at the forefront of creating a new office environment in one of Montreal’s most vibrant neighbourhoods,” said Eric Cordon, associate, development for Canderel, in Wednesday’s release.

“The relocation of Microsoft Research to 6795 Marconi confirms the project’s significance as the pre-eminent office complex in the global hub for artificial intelligence research, Montreal’s Mile-Ex.”

The news involves some interesting details here for any commercial real estate folks out there.

First, the building at 6795 Marconi also has a fascinating history. The former manufacturing facility was first occupied by a meat packing company, then a pizza-making firm. It was built in 1986 and acquired by Canderel and Claridge in March of this year.

The new space will triple Microsoft Research’s physical footprint in Montreal. Occupying 31,610 square feet, the lab will comprise the entire fourth floor, and a large portion of the third floor. Additionally, the lab will have exclusive access to a fourth-floor, roof-top terrace.

Demolition work on the existing building began almost immediately, Cordon told RENX. The redeveloped structure will contain 110,000 square feet of leasable space, standing three storeys on the east side and four storeys on the west. Currently it’s 50 percent leased out.

And finally, the building has “unique” ceiling heights of 12 to 21 feet.

Microsoft’s Montreal research has focused on teaching machines to read, think and communicate like humans.

According to Renx, the lab has been steadily building its presence in Montreal, one of the bases of Canada’s AI research corridor, and Microsoft says this announcement reinforces its plans to continue to grow its research and engineering teams in the city.

The 6795 Marconi site is steps away from the new Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA) and other AI research labs in the community.


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