Yesterday’s post was about Amazon pulling out of NYC. Today I thought we’d talk about another contentious city building debate that is happening closer to home.
This week Sidewalk Toronto announced that it would like to expand its development focus beyond Quayside to the entire Port Lands district along the waterfront.
To pay for all of this, the Alphabet company is looking for a share of the city’s property taxes and development charges (impact fees), and they want to capture some of the increase in land value.
Not surprisingly, many reacted poorly to this announcement. Some people are already grouchy about what Sidewalk is up to at Quayside and so this was inevitable.
But sharing revenue and upside is not necessarily a pioneering idea. It is called a partnership. Perhaps the partners have different skill sets. That is usually a good thing. But regardless, the best partnerships are when all parties win.
What Sidewalk allegedly wants to do is shoulder more risk upfront in exchange for a kicker on the backend. This, too, also has a name. You can call it real estate development.
I don’t know the specifics of the deal being proposed, but the question that comes to mind is: What is the net present value to the city — both quantitative and qualitative — with and without Sidewalk?
(No links in today’s post because I’m writing on mobile while standing at the airport.)