Economy

Alphabet subsidiary announces 800 acre Toronto 'internet city'

Alphabet subsidiary announces 800 acre Toronto 'internet city'”

Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation unit of Alphabet, Google's parent company, announced during a press conference this afternoon that it will be working to develop a new high-tech urban district on Toronto's waterfront, planting a flag in Canada's largest city, a move that's been expected for weeks.

We'll probably hear more about specific plans for the region as the town halls proceed and Sidewalk takes into account local feedback, but the Alphabet subsidiary says its aim is to build a place "that encourages innovation around energy, waste, and other environmental challenges to protect the planet; a place that provides a range of transportation options that are more affordable, safe, and convenient than the private auto; a place that embraces adaptable buildings and new construction methods to reduce the cost of housing and retail space; a place where public spaces welcome families to enjoy the outdoors day and night, and in all seasons; a place that is enhanced by digital technology and data without giving up the privacy and security that everyone deserves".

Sidewalk Labs makes a $50M commitment to the project that The Wall Street Journal estimated to cost over $1B.

The board of Waterfront Toronto, the federal-provincial-city agency overseeing the so-called Quayside project, is expected to vote at an October 20 meeting whether to confirm the agency's staff recommendation arising from a rigorous competitive bid process launched in May.

Alphabet's investment comes amid a technology boom in the city, driven by a thriving startup scene, a surge in artificial intelligence research and increased funding into the sector from the federal government.

Sidewalk Labs made the announcement on its website in advance of a live event in the Canadian city. The project will aim to create new models of affordable housing and flexible retail, according to the statement.

Sidewalk Labs plans to spend 2018 consulting with the public on the project and will create a plan along with Waterfront Toronto. Doctoroff was CEO of Bloomberg LP and deputy mayor of New York City under Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg's founder.

If confirmed by Waterfront Toronto's board, the choice of a firm owned by Google holding company Alphabet Inc. would be a big high-tech feather in the cap of the city now chasing the second headquarters of Amazon and other innovation opportunities.



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