To create a smart city on the waterfront of Toronto, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs is reportedly looking for a share of development fees, increased land value and property taxes for the project in the Canadian city. The funds would reach roughly $6 billion over a period spanning three decades, CNBC reported.
Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff told The Toronto Star newspaper of the project, “We’re going to be spending a lot of money in advancing the infrastructure.” He added, “And where we do that and there are new property tax revenues or developer charges, we only want to get paid back a reasonable return for our investment in that infrastructure.”
The organization reportedly is seeking to finance projects such as waste removal and a Toronto light rail addition. However, Doctoroff told the news outlet that the light rail would still be a public entity with the addition. He also told the paper, “This is a way of actually enabling critical infrastructure that isn’t happening. What we hope to do is accelerate the development of this whole area by years and years.”
The news comes after Toronto development officials signed a development agreement involving a “smart city” concept backed by Alphabet. A government-created organization focused on the renewal of the city’s waterfront called Waterfront Toronto is also involved in the project. According to reports last year, the two entities call for the “revitalization of Quayside, located at Lake Shore Boulevard East and Parliament Street in Toronto.”
Sidewalk Labs’ role is to bring smart-city technology to the mixed-use development — enhancements such as robotic garbage collection and self-driving vehicles as well as sensors to monitor when pedestrians want to cross streets. If the development proves to be successful, it could reportedly provide a model for sustainable urban neighborhoods — as well as showcase how Alphabet and its technology can bring that aim to fruition.