What should have been a futuristic dream on the eastern waterfront of Canada’s capital is currently falling apart. “Quayside”, a smart-city project for Toronto has lost one of the key developers, Sidewalk Labs.
The Google affiliate announced its departure on May 7th, following nearly three years of a bumpy ride. In his blog post CEO Dan Doctoroff said that Sidewalk Labs once hoped to build Quayside as a “fundamentally more sustainable and affordable community resulting from innovations in technology and urban design.”
Quayside is set to cover a 12-acre chunk of land in the Port Lands neighborhood of Toronto. It is envisioned as a green high-tech dream with clean energy, heated pavements for bicycle routes, underground robotic delivery tunnels, adaptive traffic signals, optimized wireless systems, modular hex pavements that stay clear all year, and flexible ground-floor spaces for retail and social infrastructure called stoa — and more.
“For the last two-and-a-half years, we have been passionate about making Quayside happen — indeed, we have invested time, people, and resources in Toronto, including opening a 30-person office on the waterfront. But 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 12-acre project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan,” said Doctoroff.
Sidewalk Labs was ready to invest $1.3 billion in Quayside. But their initial proposal was criticized by the partners for various reasons. The 12-acre plan was a scale down from the initial 190 acres and the WiFi infrastructure left the experts skeptical about the private data usage.
May 20th would be the day when Waterfront Toronto, a government-backed agency with a mandate to revitalize the waterfront, would have announced its final verdict on the Sidewalk Labs’ proposal.