With a growing population over one million, Edmonton is the province’s post-secondary destination, teaching nearly 200,000 students each year. Between the University of Alberta, MacEwan University, Concordia University of Edmonton, King’s College, and Norquest, Edmonton is a leader in academics. But one of the city’s shining stars is NAIT. A polytechnic school that offers both technical training and applied education, and the country’s largest apprenticeship school, NAIT’s dedication to being both relevant and responsive to the demands of the Canadian economy has led to almost continual expansion over the last two decades.
The newest addition to the NAIT campus downtown is the Productivity and Innovation Centre. Slated to open this fall, the Productivity and Innovation Centre is designed to connect the school with industry. Designed by GEC Architecture and built by Clark Builders, the Productivity and Innovation Centre’s aesthetic reflects the polytechnic environment, while also intentionally nodding to modernity and industry – even employing materials produced with the same technologies the building houses (like the atrium’s steel panels and the exterior’s concrete cladding). Plus, it’s being built for LEED® certification which will verify that it was designed and built for sustainability, efficiency, and high performance (NAIT’s last campus addition, the Centre for Applied Technologies, was awarded LEED® Gold certification).
And while the stunning design and excellent construction are certainly noteworthy, what’s most distinctive about this building, is its purpose: transforming Alberta’s economy. Because NAIT isn’t just a post-secondary school, it’s a research and training institution that serves Alberta’s industry and works to boost the economy (which is why the federal government pitched nearly $35 million toward this project). The first of its kind, the Productivity and Innovation Centre will be an industry hub for collaboration, connection, and community, uniting NAIT’s industry solutions under one roof and offering an integrated approach to aiding industry partners in becoming globally competitive. Offering technology adoption, product innovation, business innovation and consultation, and industry-driven research in construction, water technologies, distributed energy, advanced manufacturing, and effective resources management as well as flexible spaces for working, training, and events, the Productivity and Innovation Centre is a commercial and institutional project with promise.
Located on the campus’ east side on a triangular site, GEC Architecture designed the 190,000 square foot building to invite the community in with a distinctive street presence. An open to above first floor entrance and two wings of the building are connected by a four-storey, feature atrium – it’s all smooth surfaces, bright light, and wide, open spaces. The Productivity and Innovation Centre is intentionally flexible to accommodate its various functions, but as a whole, it’s designed to encourage cooperation, communication, and creative problem solving. NAIT, by its very nature, drives innovation. By partnering with industry leaders and professionals to research solutions to industry-specific problems, and by creating a building that offers flexible, inviting spaces that bring students, teachers, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders together, NAIT is fueling Alberta’s economy.
Clark Builders is currently completing the final touches on this project and we can’t wait to tour it in September, but in the meantime you can take a virtual tour here.
Chad GriffithsPartner, SIOR, CCIM
Chad is a partner with NAI Commercial Real Estate and focuses on the Greater Edmonton area. Chad entered the industry in 2004 and has completed over 400 commercial transactions with clients ranging from small, local companies to large institutional owners. Chad has been a top 15 producer with NAI Canada-wide since 2013.
Ryan BrownPartner, BCom, SIOR
Ryan is a partner with NAI Commercial Real Estate in Edmonton and is currently ranked nationally as one of NAI's top advisors. Having executed in excess of $100 Million worth of sales transactions and over 2 Million square feet of lease transactions, Ryan has developed a firm understanding of asset evaluation and an aptitude for building design, functionality, and long-term practicality.
Darcie is a licensed Commercial Real Estate Agent in the Province of Alberta with a focus on the Edmonton market and its surrounding areas. Darcie accomplishes custom solutions for her clients through her personable nature and results driven attitude. Darcie can help if you are looking to invest in commercial real estate or are looking for representation for a sale or lease transactions.
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