Google's parent company just got approval to build a $50 million high-tech neighborhood in Toronto

Sidewalk Toronto

Sidewalk Toronto

A conceptual illustration for Sidewalk Labs' Quayside neighborhood.

  • On Tuesday morning, Waterfront Toronto's board unanimously approved Sidewalk Labs' plans to develop a 12-acre swath of the city into a high-tech neighborhood.
  • Sidewalk committed $10 million for planning process, and an additional $40 million in investment has now been unlocked. The entire development is expected to cost at least $1 billion.
  • The company has been quiet about the exact plans for the neighborhood, but its CEO, Dan Doctoroff, has spoken about how self-driving cars, embedded sensors that track energy usage, machine learning, and high-speed internet could improve urban environments.

Sidewalk Labs - the urban innovation arm of Google parent company Alphabet - just got the green light to build a high-tech neighborhood on Toronto's waterfront.

On Tuesday morning, the board of Waterfront Toronto - the organization administering revitalization projects along the Canadian city's waterfront - unanimously approved the company's plans.Advertisement

Sidewalk has already committed $10 million for planning process, and an additional $40 million in investment has now been unlocked with the board's approval. The entire 12-acre development is expected to cost at least $1 billion, however.

"This agreement ... lays out a path towards a transparent, collaborative partnership with Waterfront Toronto and the people of Toronto," Josh Sirefman, Sidewalk Labs' Head of Development, told Business Insider in a statement. "We look forward to working together to develop a groundbreaking plan to improve the lives of people living in Toronto and cities like it around the world."
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Sidewalk Toronto

Sidewalk Toronto

An aerial view of the site for Sidewalk Labs' Quayside neighborhood.

"We are excited to take this next step with Sidewalk Labs to set the stage for a transformational project on the waterfront that addresses many critical urban issues faced by Toronto and other cities around the world," Waterfront Toronto tweeted Tuesday.Advertisement

Based on these 2017 renderings, it looks like Sidewalk Labs wants Quayside to be a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. The preliminary illustrations include bikeshares, apartment housing, bus lines, and parks.

Sidewalk Toronto

Sidewalk Toronto

The project has been in the works for more than a year. In March 2017, Sidewalk Labs responded to Toronto's request for proposals to redevelop the waterfront parcel. The planning process kicked off with a community town hall in November, where residents discussed their thoughts and concerns about the project.

As Business Insider previously reported, locals have expressed worries that Quayside could become a "new Silicon Valley," bringing issues like gentrification, higher housing prices, and income inequality.Advertisement

The Plan Development Agreement will become public on Tuesday afternoon after Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs sign the deal.

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