Alphabet and Teachers’ to launch infrastructure holding company

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TORONTO — Google affiliates Alphabet Inc. and Sidewalk Labs are partnering with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to launch a new company that invests in North American infrastructure.

Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff says the new company, to be called Sidewalk Infrastructure, will give cities an opportunity to deploy more advanced, next-generation infrastructure.

The infrastructure could include technology-enabled systems for stormwater management, neighbourhood-scale heating and cooling, advanced traffic controls and other initiatives like the ones that Sidewalk Labs hopes to deploy at the Quayside side on Toronto’s waterfront.

Doctoroff says in a statement that the new company will play an important role in Sidewalk Labs’ ecosystem of products, financing, and development to make cities more inclusive and sustainable.

Teachers’ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sidewalk Labs released its master proposal for Quayside and the eastern waterfront in June that includes a $1.3-billion spending commitment from the company.

The proposal, which would see Sidewalk develop both Quayside and a separate eight hectare site, has come under criticism for overstepping the criteria set out by Waterfront Toronto.

Sidewalk has also faced wider criticism over concerns of data collection and monitoring as part of its plan for the waterfront development.

The company has recommended that an independent, government sanctioned trust be established to set guidelines and oversee data collection, while also committing not to sell personal information or use it for advertising.