Gowling is relocating its Hamilton law office from the historic Bank of Montreal building downtown to McMaster Innovation Park. – The Hamilton Spectator file photo
Waterloo’s Cora Developments plans construction in spring on ‘innovative ecosystem’
by Tom Hogue The Hamilton Spectator
The Cora Group plans to begin work in the spring on a $35-million, 90,000-square-foot building in McMaster Innovation Park that will be the new Hamilton home to legal firm Gowling and other tenants.
An “innovative ecosystem” imagined by Gowling was what attracted the Waterloo developer to the project, said Cora COO Adrian Conrad. The design by Neo Architecture is still coming together for what Conrad called “a unique collaborative space.”
Louis Frapporti, Hamilton managing partner for Gowling WLG, said the decision to move operations from their existing downtown location in a historic Bank of Montreal to the McMaster Innovation Park (MIP) was sparked by the firm’s “accelerated development around innovation” and follows “an astonishing amount of growth as a result of our commitment to this region.”
Part of the growth came last January when Gowling merged with Hamilton law firm Evans Sweeny Bordin LLP.
About 200 people — 52 lawyers and more than 150 staff — from the Evans Sweeny Bordin office in the CIBC tower, as well as the Gowling offices at Main and James, will move into the new MIP space.
“The move isn’t simply motivated because the space is different, better or nicer — it is very much about animating and moving forward the partnership we have with McMaster and Mohawk to assist them with the commercialization of technology,” Frapporti said.
MIP offices will take up a large portion of the remaining space.
Frapporti understands the skeptical first response they got when they suggested the idea of a legal firm in the midst of a vibrant and creative centre.
“Lawyers historically have been quite reactive,” Frapporti said. “But we want to position ourselves as actively partnering not just with our clients but with our community — where people live, work and create, and where researchers, engineers, young people and business congregate.
“Some of the most significant business decisions do not arrive out of a boardroom, they arrive over dinner at the bar after the boardroom.”
Through offices in 19 cities across the world, Gowling represents clients in sectors that Frapporti said align with Hamilton’s own growth sectors — advanced manufacturing, life sciences and automotive.
“The magic sauce that we bring to all that is that we connect to well over 100,000 clients in virtually every country in the world,” Frapporti said, adding that MIP is where the building blocks will fall into place.
by Tom Hogue
Tom Hogue is a feature writer and video producer who regularly contributes to the business section of thespec.com and The Hamilton Spectator. He is a recipient of a Western Magazine Award, Ontario Newspaper Awards and was nominated for a National Magazine Award.