The government announced Wednesday it will spend $6.5 million to buy the property on the Dartmouth side of the harbour.
Colin MacLean, the CEO of the Crown-owned Waterfront Development Corp., says he hopes the redeveloped property will also attract researchers from universities and colleges.
He says a plan for the development will be worked out over the next three to six months in consultation with possible tenants, with renovations expected to begin in the spring of 2016.
The property includes buildings, waterfront and over 850 metres of wharf and two 100-metre piers.
MacLean says the project is part of the response to a report on economic development issued last year saying the province is in urgent need of more export-oriented private firms.