MaRS project put on hold

The Financial Post reported yesterday that Toronto’s MaRS project has been put on hold. The $300-million Medical and Related Sciences complex in Toronto’s hospital district had been billed as an innovation centre for early-stage companies in the science and technology sector. MaRS developed Phase I of the project on its own however for the second phase it leased the land to a development company that is responsible for building and renting the space.

Hence the problem – many of the potential tenants for the building are dependent on venture capital funding, a market that has all but dried up as wealthy investors refuse to part with cash on risky investments.

MaRS received $70-million in funding from the Ontario government and another $20-million from the federal government but it has been largely funded by the private sector. The company’s board of directors reads like a who’s who of Toronto’s elite, including Royal Bank chief executive Gord Nixon, First Marathon Inc. founder Lawrence Bloomberg and Roy-L Capital chief executive Joseph Rotman.