$37-million 'Cyber Park' building will house cybersecurity firms
Construction of a "disaster-resilient" building for cybersecurity firms will begin this fall in Fredericton's Knowledge Park.
The $37-million "Cyber Park" project was announced Friday morning at Planet Hatch.
Opportunities New Brunswick, a Crown corporation, is giving Knowledge Park a $30 million repayable loan, and the park is contributing the remaining $7 million.
Larry Shaw, CEO of Ignite Fredericton and Knowledge Park, said the two-tower structure, will be tailor-made to house cybersecurity companies and research.
As a disaster resilient building, it will have backup power and internet, and more steel and concrete to protect the infrastructure inside.
It's also going to have a perimeter around it to limit cars and trucks from getting close and will have 24/7 security.
"You can't drive up to the front of the building or park a truck or something like that," Shaw said. "There is a terrorism protection strategy inside … not that we're [in] a big terrorism threat but nonetheless you don't want to be naive."
He said the new building — four storeys and 135,000 square feet — will allow companies that need this type of structure, including aerospace and government, to see Fredericton as a place to base their operations.
Construction will start in October and is set to end end in fall of 2020.
Knowledge Park leases the land from the University of New Brunswick, which has previously requested the area be rezoned by the city.
Knowledge Park is a private for-profit company that owns several buildings that house tech and research companies. It's owned by Ignite Fredericton, which is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization.
Opportunities New Brunswick said it has already secured some tenants, but couldn't name them.
"We wouldn't build this building if we didn't have a clear line of sights to opportunities," Shaw said.
Star trek building
David Shipley, the CEO of the local cybersecurity company Beauceron Security, said it's often difficult for cybersecurity companies to be physically as well as digitally protected.
"It's hard to find space to grow into," he said. "If this building is housing a company that does security monitoring or security operations ... that can't afford to go down. So they need to have those kind of resiliency and security to make sure that they can stay up and running, and any information you have access to is protected."
He said Beauceron provides cybersecurity services for the city, and where it's stationed now in Fredericton does not compare to this project.
"This is Star Trek compared to where we're coming from," he said.
He said he will try to move into the new space once it opens up.
Shaw said there will be space in the building for companies' offices, but it will also have labs to accommodate academic research.
Ali Ghorbani, director of the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity, said the institute is based on the UNB campus but he's hoping it will move to the new building and be closer to other players in cybersecurity.
Fifty people are involved in the institute, including researchers and grad students.
"[I'm hoping] that students will be working with other companies so they become more well-rounded and workplace-ready graduates," he said.