Bell Aliant welcomed with key data centre investment

Halifax real estate investment firm, The Armour Group Limited, announced the creation of EON Square, a campus encompassing the former BlackBerry facility at 50 Innovation Drive and an additional 50 acres on the high profile corner between Highway 102 and Hammond’s Plains Road.

CEO Scott Armour McCrea described his vision for the campus as an innovation, creativity and collaboration hub for Halifax. Including a state-of-the-art Bell Aliant data centre, the site will encompass one million square feet of commercial space that incorporates the existing structure at 50 Innovation Drive. IBM Canada already resides at 50 Innovation Drive with more than 250 employees providing remote consulting service support to over 20 leading Canadian clients. Armour announced that it will commence construction immediately on the second building in the campus, a seven story structure totaling 120,000 sq. ft., with expected completion at the end of 2015.

Perched on one of the highest elevations in Halifax, overlooking the basin, EON Square is built around the “right to light” architectural movement – one that values natural light exposure for all inside and a new workplace format. Long, narrow, west-facing structures maximize window-glazing surfaces, flooding interior spaces to the core with sunlight. This further minimizes artificial light sources, and uses the power of nature to support LEED certified passive heat and cooling systems.

The private-sector investment is valued at over $200 million and McCrea hopes it will respond to the national and global opportunity to bring together local start-up businesses and world class organizations, fostering a community of innovation and collaboration.

“EON Square is a great example of what gets accomplished when the private sector leads economic development,” said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Michel Samson. “This unique development will bring together high-tech local start-ups with world-class companies, encouraging the exchange of ideas, mentorship, and future partnership and growth.”

Bell Aliant today announced that it plans to invest up to $7 million to modify and upgrade the existing data centre at EON Square. The investment will ensure the new Bell Aliant facility meets the highest standards for security, reliability and energy efficiency. Together, Bell Canada and Bell Aliant offer customers access to the nation’s largest network of data centres. Today’s announcement brings the total to 26 data centre locations across the country, including five in Atlantic Canada.

“We are committed to making investments that foster innovation and growth in our region,” said Dan McKeen, Vice Chair, Bell Aliant, who announced the company’s plans at the EON Square ceremony today. “The scale of our data centre business enables us to deliver unparalleled reach, reliability, capacity and peace of mind to our public and private sector data centre customers – and now even more value to all of our customers in Atlantic Canada. With this new Halifax centre, our data services just got better.”

McKeen noted that EON Square Innovation Campus will be a great addition to Bell Aliant’s existing mix of space across the municipality, the province and the region, including downtown Halifax, where the company will continue to be headquartered.

“Armour is excited to welcome Bell Aliant, one of the region’s innovation leaders, to EON Square,” said McCrea. “We see huge potential to cluster people and companies with similar interests within the campus and to deliver an outstanding experience to all our tenants.”

Located at 50 Innovation Drive, EON Square will be developed with both world class organizations and local start-ups in mind. It will incorporate the latest technology infrastructure, maximize natural light and work spaces that encourage collaboration. The amenity rich campus will eventually be comprised of 6 to 7 new LEED® Gold certified (projected) free standing office buildings, along with a business class hotel, restaurant and retail space accommodating top talent. Workers across EON Square will meet up, collaborate, and re-energize in a comfortable, healthy and motivating work environment that offers a wide array of support services from a bike repair room to fitness centres to on-site eating establishments, fruit stands and common meeting rooms. EON Square will be the largest campus of its kind east of Toronto.

“More than ever before, Nova Scotians are engaged in a conversation about how we want to shape our economic future,” continued McCrea. “There is a lot of focus on improving our regional capacity for innovation. We envision EON Square as a centre of excellence, propelling future-oriented sectors to expand, supporting local talent and attracting future growth.”

EON Square is just one of The Armour Group’s major investment in Greater Halifax in the last several years, which most recently has included the grand opening of the RBC Waterside Centre in downtown Halifax and the completion of the Park Place Tower V and Park Place campus in Burnside.

-30-