ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
Waterfront Toronto has officially relaunched the process to find a new partner to develop Quayside, and leaders of the corporation are vowing not to repeat the mistakes made during their relationship with Sidewalk Labs.
This week, Waterfront Toronto issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) to develop the 12-acre property near Queens Quay East and Parliament Street.
That’s the parcel on the waterfront that Google sister firm Sidewalk Labs planned to turn into a futuristic, high-tech smart district, complete with buildings made of wood, data collecting sensors, self-driving cars, moisture-resistant heated pavements and more.
But after a public backlash over Sidewalk’s plans to use data collection in the district, and the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Sidewalk pulled the plug and walked away from the agreement with Waterfront Toronto last year.
Now Waterfront Toronto, the tri-government corporation that owns most of Quayside, is calling for the creation of a mixed-use development that features housing — including affordable and possibly long-term-care units — parks and waterfront promenades, cultural amenities, large gathering spaces for the public, retail and more.
Unlike the request for proposals and request for qualifications from March 2017 that called for an “innovation and funding partner,” and which Sidewalk Labs was awarded in October of that year, this RFQ simply calls for a “development partner.”
The process is expected to arrive at a shortlist of candidates and a request for proposals will be announced later this year.
And unlike the experience with Sidewalk Labs, in which questions arose as to whether the Manhattan-based firm had sufficient experience in urban design, development and financial planning, the new RFQ is intended to land a big fish with expertise and know-how in these areas, Waterfront Toronto’s leaders say.