MaRS announces refinancing of its West Tower through private-sector support

TORONTO, February 09, 2017 – MaRS Discovery District today announced that it has completed a significant private financing of its West Tower. The proceeds of this transaction will be used to repay most of the Ontario government’s interest-bearing loans to MaRS almost three years ahead of schedule.

Manulife, Sun Life Financial and iA Financial Group led the $290-million transaction by investing in 19-year bonds issued by Phase II Investment Trust.

“MaRS has established itself as a centre for innovation and entrepreneurship, and we are pleased to support the continued growth of this market in Canada,” says Candace Shaw, Head of Private Fixed Income, Sun Life Investment Management. “The West Tower is an impressive state-of-the-art innovation complex with an exceptional roster of tenants, in one of the most desirable locations in Toronto. This transaction is an ideal fit to Sun Life’s long-term investment objectives.”

“The financing of MaRS’ West Tower is a sound investment opportunity for Manulife. We are pleased to have been involved and to have co-led the effort,” said Greg Wood, Vice President and Senior Managing Director, Canadian Real Estate Finance, Manulife. “LOFT: Lab of Forward Thinking, a new initiative of Manulife’s Investment Division, is already a tenant of an adjoining building in the MaRS Centre.”

“The West Tower is fully leased, and will soon generate the annualized net operating income required to be entirely self-sustaining, putting MaRS on stable footing for decades to come. Canada now has an urban innovation hub at a scale that is fully competitive with any global counterparts,” says Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS.

Offering over 1.5 million square feet of state-of-the-art lab and office space in the heart of Toronto’s Discovery District, the MaRS Centre is now home to more than 140 research labs and companies spanning the entire innovation ecosystem, including:

  • Multinational medical and technology firms such as Autodesk, Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS (housing over 40 biotech and health startups), Facebook, Merck, PayPal, Etsy, Airbnb, IBM, CIBC and RBC;
  • Growing firms such as League, Synaptive Medical, Deep Genomics, Interface Biologics, Highland Therapeutics, Datifex, NRStor, Triphase Accelerator;
  • Investment teams including Real Ventures, BDC, Blueline Bioscience, Emerald Technology Ventures, ArcTern Ventures and Cycle Capital; and
  • Leading research groups from the University of Toronto (which owns a 20% stake in the West Tower), University Health Network (including Princess Margaret Cancer Centre), Ryerson University, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and Public Health Ontario.

“We are grateful that the Government of Ontario stepped up to help us solve an unforeseen problem, and we are delighted to welcome Manulife, Sun Life and iA Financial Group as financing partners. MaRS has incredible momentum and is well positioned to build on this successful foundation for many years to come,” says Gord Nixon, chair of the board of directors at MaRS.

“The success of MaRS has facilitated a new generation of entrepreneurs and startups that showcase Ontario’s innovation, which is critical to the province’s competitive future and prosperity. MaRS clients are making breakthroughs in areas such as healthcare and clean technology that will help improve people’s everyday lives and generate high-paying, high-value jobs,” says Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science for the Province of Ontario.

“We’re pleased that the decisive action on the part of government to bridge finance MaRS has paid off in the interest of all Ontarians. MaRS is putting Ontario on the map as a global innovation leader, and we’re grateful to all involved who helped to reach this very successful milestone,” says Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development for the Province of Ontario.

Ventures within the MaRS network raised $2.6 billion in capital and generated $1.3 billion in revenue between 2008 and 2015, and today employ more than 5,200 people.

About MaRS Discovery District

MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. Our purpose is to help innovators change the world. MaRS supports promising ventures tackling key challenges in the health, cleantech, finance & commerce, as well as work & learning sectors as they start, grow and scale. In addition, the MaRS community fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration to drive breakthrough discoveries and new solutions to be adopted in Canada and beyond, growing our economy and delivering societal impact at scale.

For more information, contact:

MaRS Discovery District
Danielle Klassen, Acting Manager, Community & Media Relations