Biggest Project on the Continent
Waterfront Toronto CEO John Campbell showed Bisnow around North America's largest urban renewal project. The key word: innovation cluster. (If you say that's two words, you just need to be more innovative.)
Waterfront Toronto's $35B, multi-decade master plan will see 2,000 acres of post-industrial waterfront transformed into a mini city of mixed-use communities, with 40,000 homes and 11M SF of commercial space. East Bayfront, the first private sector development on the waterfront, is home to the Corus Entertainment HQ, George Brown College's health sciences campus, and two parks, including Sugar Beach (where John is pictured).
An ICT cluster (which stands for information and communication technology, but you knew that) will be located in East Bayfront (above). There, Waterfront Toronto is building a pair of mixed-use projects (6,000 residential units) developed by Great Gulf Homes (Monde) and a Tridel/Hines JV (Bayside). There is 6M SF of new office supply flooding the downtown market in coming years, so John, a former Brookfield Properties exec, says Waterfront Toronto can't simply build a bunch of generic office space: "This has to be different."
And based on this rendering, it will be. His agency is seeking a development partner to build the 350k SF innovation centre (above) that'll lure tech firms to its "living lab." The ITC cluster will be powered by Canada's first open broadband network, with download speeds of 100 MB/second—or potentially 10 GB/second for commercial users. (What is that in terms of Netflix episodes?)
John tells us attracting ITC talent and capital means building mixed-use communities with parks, transit, and retail spaces. Having 500 full-time students at George Brown's waterfront campus has helped in this regard. Plus all development will hit LEED Gold: It's an "economic long game."