VIATeC has purchased 777 Fort Street in downtown Victoria and will be moving to the new space by the end of the year. The building has 4 floors and a basement with a total of 15,600 s/ft. Many people will remember the building as the former home of J&L Copy or the Cooks Roberts law firm.
VIATeC started exploring the possibility of a building purchase shortly after opening Accelerate Tectoria at the corner of Douglas and Hillside. It quickly became obvious that by moving back into town awareness of VIATeC and the services we provide increased dramatically. We knew we had made the right move but we also knew that it would be better if we could set up right in the heart of the city.
The accelerator program has exceeded our expectations. Over 50 startups have entered the program and 10 have already graduated. The companies participating have created 121 jobs, raised almost $9 million in investment and increased their revenues by almost $2 million. One of the keys to our success has been our ability to keep costs down by signing a terrific sublet agreement for the space. However, that deal will expire in January of 2015.
As we considered our options, we discovered that with current market conditions it would be possible to buy a building and operate it for essentially the same amount as our sublet agreement.
While there are 330 tech companies operating in the downtown core, most of them are invisible to the average passer by. 777 Fort Street gives us a permanent home that will stand as a highly visible example of our thriving tech sector. We will have full control over our space, open it up to the community for its meetings and events related innovation and entrepreneurship and while we are building up equity for the building ownership, our operating costs will be the same as our current sweetheart of a sublet deal.
This move will increase awareness of the tech sector, add financial sustainability to VIATeC, allow the accelerator program to expand and give the tech sector as a whole a new gathering spot for meetings and events. We can’t wait to take you on a tour.