Sidewalk Labs nixes the Toronto waterfront project

Sidewalk Labs is withdrawing from the Quayside project, a new kind of mixed-use community planned for Toronto’s waterfront, due to economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Photo courtesy Heatherwick Studio
Sidewalk Labs is withdrawing from the Quayside project, a new kind of mixed-use community planned for Toronto’s waterfront, due to economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19.
Photo courtesy Heatherwick Studio

Sidewalk Labs has dropped the Quayside project, a new kind of mixed-use, complete community planned for Toronto’s waterfront, due to the global economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sidewalk Toronto would have combined forward-thinking urban design and new digital technology to create people-centred neighbourhoods that achieve precedent-setting levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity. The project was launched in October 2017 as a partnership between Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto.

“As unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in around the world and in the Toronto real estate market, it has become too difficult to make the [5-ha] 12-acre project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan we had developed together with Waterfront Toronto to build a truly inclusive, sustainable community,” Sidewalk Labs said in a statement.

“While this is not the outcome we had hoped for, Waterfront Toronto offers thanks and appreciation to Sidewalk Labs for its vision, effort, and the many commitments that both the company and its employees have made to the future of Toronto,” said Stephen Diamond, board chair of Waterfront Toronto.

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One comment on “Sidewalk Labs nixes the Toronto waterfront project”

  1. It’s important not to give up now on encouraging private-sector investment & innovation into Toronto’s waterfront.
    Lessons should be learned from this Waterfront Toronto/Sidewalk Labs experience. It’s very difficult to get anything done on Toronto’s waterfront. Believe me, I know it first hand. While we have witnessed varied commitment to proper spending of government (taxpayers’) funds there, it’s even harder to encourage private-sector investment. At TEDCO, our team had some success in developing a Portlands film studio using a P3 model, plus we built the LEED Gold HQ for Corus Entertainment; yet after that it was nearly 10 years before another office building broke ground on the waterfront! Each one of those TEDCO projects were very hard to accomplish and took a team approach… and a stiff backbone. It will be interesting if the governments involved in the waterfront truly understand when & how this WT/Sidewalk saga went off the rails? Apparently over $16 million of taxpayers funds were spent on it, plus of course what Google’s Sidewalk Labs expended too.

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