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MaRS’ new District 20 means business

  • February 2015

BY DOUGLAS SOLTYS CANADIAN STARTUP NEWS FEBRUARY 18, 2015

“This is a great space. We lobbied hard to get here.”

I’m sitting across from Eric Riz, founder of Empty Cubicle, in the boardroom of MaRS’ new co-working space, District 20. A 6,000 square foot section of the MaRS Heritage Building (in what I’m told is rumoured to be the old Toronto General morgue), District 20 blends 20th century facilities with 21st century function in a way most have come to expect from the innovation hub. The sandy-bricked space is filled with colour-coded, pod-like offices; minimalist yet comfortable furniture lines the hallways and common areas, which feature private booths for phone calls or a quick break-out meeting. The space feels warm and professional.

But Riz isn’t talking about the space as an office, or at least not entirely. He’s talking about it as an extension of MaRS. MaRS has a mixed history convincing startups to take residency in its space. Riz is frank in his contrarian opinion.

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