Services for entreprises Promenade de la Rivière St-Charles

Key sectors

Manufacturing industry

Major innovative projects = healthy economy

Where high technology and sustainable development meet

“Know thyself,” said Socrates to his fellow citizens in the hope that they would take charge of their own destiny. In keeping with Socrates’ philosophy, the City of Lévis reviewed its inventory of industrial zones and parks shortly after the 2002 municipal merger as part of efforts to optimize its development planning model.

  • Year founded: 2007
  • Facility manager: Quebec Metro High Tech Park Corporation
  • Surface area: 5 million square feet
  • Priority sectors:
    • energy efficiency
    • industrial robotics
    • functional foods
    • transportation logistics
    • agri-food and biotechnologies
  • Building design: mandatory LEED certification
  • Taxable value of buildings: CA$25 million-CA$27 million

“We inherited additional municipal territory and wanted to determine our strengths and weaknesses. According to the inventory, Lévis is home to 460 manufacturing companies generating nearly 7,500 direct jobs. We concluded that the development potential of our tertiary sector—a key characteristic of the knowledge economy—should be maximized. Creating a high-tech centre of excellence was seen as essential, and that led to plans for Innoparc,” explains Philippe Meurant, director of the City’s economic development department.

The new high-tech park will enable Lévis to diversify its economy, which until now has been largely concentrated in the manufacturing and services sectors. But it will also attract new high-tech companies with benefits for the entire Quebec City region—particularly since the Quebec Metro High Tech Park (QMHTP) across the St. Lawrence River is beginning to feel somewhat cramped: the 15 million square foot facility is 90% occupied, while the average occupancy rate of its multi-rental buildings stands at 94%.

Partnership and complementary roles

Agreement is easy when goals are shared—and it’s easy to share goals when you co-own a site. On August 30, 2007, the City of Lévis and the QMHTP signed a partnership agreement that paved the way for Innoparc. With the stroke of a pen, the distance between Lévis and Quebec City got just a little shorter!

Under the agreement, the QMHTP Corporation will help design and develop Innoparc, in addition to promoting the new site, identifying prospective clients and assisting entrepreneurs with project setup. Mr. Meurant sums up the principles of the agreement as follows: “By partnering with the QMHTP, the City of Lévis will reap the benefits of regional economic developers and their recognized expertise.”

The partnership agreement is based on stable and solid foundations, and both the QMHTP and Innoparc will have complementary roles. The former’s stated goal is contribute significantly to the Quebec City region’s economic and technological development. To that end, it will provide the same services and benefits to companies at Innoparc as it does to its own members. For its part, Innoparc hopes to attract companies operating in its priority growth sectors of “energy efficiency, industrial robotics, nutraceuticals, functional foods, transportation logistics and agri-food,” says Mr. Meurant.

Going green

Located just off Highway 20 in the heart of Lévis’ high-tech cluster, Innoparc will have a first-phase area of five million square feet and will be able to accommodate close to 60 high-tech companies. To meet International Association of Science Parks (IASP) qualification criteria, companies must devote a certain percentage of their on-site activities to R&D; and will have to meet various other standards.

Most of Innoparc’s buildings will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified—a Quebec first! In North America, LEED is the gold standard in green buildings. Among other things, Innoparc’s buildings will be harmonized with the external environment, in compliance with stringent energy efficiency and water management standards.

All of Innoparc’s design solutions are environmentally friendly, in keeping with the Government of Quebec’s recently unveiled Sustainable Development Act. Under Innoparc’s development plan, “Buildings will be concentrated in the eastern section of the site to minimize encroachment on wetlands,” explains Mr. Meurant. Building density will thus serve to preserve existing watercourses and green spaces, while a planting program will complement the existing tree cover. The buildings will be strategically located to maximize sun exposure and natural light. Outdoor parking will be at ground level to improve landscape integration and will be rationed to encourage the use of environmentally friendly transportation alternatives.

Over 20 firms have expressed an interest in the new facility, which will be ready to accommodate small and medium enterprises in the first multi-rental building in early 2009. The second building—the heart of Innoparc—will house the Energy Efficiency Research Centre and the Energy Efficiency Research Chair of the School of Advanced Technology (ETS).

Julie Bouchard

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