A rendering of the City Centre 2 building, that is being unveiled in Surrey on Thursday, May 10. (Submitted photo)

‘City Centre 2’ building unveiled in Surrey’s Health Tech District

It is the second of up to eight buildings planned by Lark Group in the ‘rapidly emerging technology cluster’

SURREY — The latest new building in Surrey’s expanding Health and Technology District was unveiled on Thursday, May 10.

Surrey-based Lark Group developed the district “in anticipation of the rapidly growing health and technology sector in B.C.” and the new City Centre 2 building is the newest addition to what’s being called a “rapidly emerging technology cluster.”

The 185,000-square-foot, 12-storey building is located at 9639 137A St., across from Surrey Memorial Hospital, next to the City Centre 1 building that was completed in 2014.

In all, Lark has plans to build up to eight in the area.

“When you walk out, take time to put your hands on one of the concrete pillars,” renowned neuroscientist Ryan D’Arcy told a large crowd at the May 10 reception.

“Feel them,” said D’Arcy, who has been an integral part to the health tech district. “It’ll be cold, it’ll be dusty, but feel it. Because the difference between what goes on in the world and what goes on here is we get stuff done.”

Many innovations and achievements have been born in districts “innovation ecosystem,” from Conquer Mobile’s PeriopSim app that teachers surgical skills via virtual reality, to a Brain Power Score app that’s described as a Fit-Bit for your brain, to the “world’s first objective physiological yard stick for brain function,” to Project Iron Soldier that D’Arcy is involved in which aims to help a soldier learn to walk again after being hit in the head with an axe in Afghanistan in 2006.

See also: Iron Soldier fights to walk again as he leaves legacy in Surrey

See also: VIDEOS: Surrey neuroscience innovation highlighted during Brain Awareness Week

See also: VIDEO: Brain monitors, virtual reality along Surrey’s Innovation Boulevard

“We say we’re going to do it and we do it. We say we’re going to help people and we help them,” said D’Arcy firmly. “We say we’re going to create jobs, and we create jobs. We say we’re going to build the economy and we build the economy. That is what is so special here, the people who get stuff done.”

According to a release, when completed, the health tech district will consist of over 1.5 million square feet and it’s estimated it will create 15,000 jobs, and contribute over $1.1 billion annually into the B.C. economy.

Anchor tenants in the new City Centre 2 development will be longtime Surrey-based tech company Safe Software and Surrey’s independent school Regent Christian Academy, which will both move in this fall.

Safe Software will occupy the top five floors with over 54,000 square-foot of space for their team of more than 150 employees. A release notes their new office space includes a state-of-the-art 4,000-square-foot cafeteria, a 6,000 square-foot roof-top garden terrace and green space with a multi-level deck and walking path, as well as a fully equipped fitness centre and amenities for their employees.

Safe Software President Don Murray said the new headquarters is a “pivotal move” for the company that will “take us to the next level.”

The company’s co-founder, and vice-president of software development Dale Lutz, agreed.

“Being in the hub of Surrey’s technology and innovation cluster will further our success as a data integration leader, make recruitment easier, and enable further collaboration with others who are also setting the pace in the high-tech sector,” said Lutz.

Regent Christian Academy’s Louanne Menser said the school’s international department is “excited to be a part of the Health and Technology District as we continue to expand into the future of global education.”

See also: ‘Game-changing’ Surrey-born technology tests brain vital signs

See also: OUR VIEW: Let’s celebrate Surrey’s medical triumphs

Helping to launch the newest building was Surrey Councillor Tom Gill and Lark Group President Larry Fisher.

“The Health and Technology District and our City Centre buildings are a unique ecosystem that serves as catalysts for translating emerging technologies into life changing innovations that attract thought leaders and innovative companies from across Canada and beyond,” said Fisher in a release. “Our district generates a robust economy and exponential opportunities for children, families and residents of Surrey, enabling future leaders and skilled talent to flourish. Lark Group’s goal is to provide an eight-phase hub of health and technology that will have impact on the lives of people around the world.”

In a statement, Mayor Linda Hepner said Surrey is “in a state of transformation as we drive our economic diversification strategy and build up our industry sectors.”

“City Centre 2 is yet another concrete example of the forward momentum we are experiencing in the City of Surrey,” Hepner added. “Situated directly across from Surrey Memorial Hospital Campus and the nearby Jim Pattison Outpatient Centre, City Centre 2 is a significant addition to the city’s growing health and technology sectors.”

Some news was revealed at the City Centre 2 unveiling about the health tech model expanding to another Canadian city.

“The model that we’ve built here at the Health and Technology District, bringing together entrepreneurs, thought leaders, research and science with clinicians and people that just wanted to change the world did make a difference,” said Rowena Rizzotti, VP of health care and innovations for Lark Group.

“That model now, will be replicated in Atlantic Canada… in New Brunswick and that will be just the first of many replications,” she revealed. “We will change the world, globally, when we can take what we’ve built here in Surrey and we can build it elsewhere.”

A new partnership with Science World was also announced.

“It’s with great excitement that we’re able to share that Science World will be opening its second satellite location here in the Health and Technology District for future science leaders,” Rizzotti told the crowd.

The program will bring “some of the most advanced, keen high school students” to work alongside the professionals in the tech district.

As the speeches concluded, people began exploring the displays, including virtual reality demonstrations.

“The reality is the world is changing,” said Rizzotti. “The robots are coming. We have an opportunity here to help ensure that that movement and that force does transform and change lives of people in positive ways. We’re so proud to be located here in the heart of Surrey.”

To learn more about the Health and Technology District, visit healthandtechnologydistrict.com.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

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