An innovative housing hub is coming to the University of Toronto’s (U of T) St. George Campus -- and with it, the promise of hundreds of new apartment-style units for faculty, staff, and student families. A newly-minted development partnership brings the project one step closer to fruition.

On Tuesday, U of T confirmed that leading real estate developer Westbank has been selected to design and build The Gateway project, slated for the southeast corner of Bloor Street and Spadina Avenue.

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This will be no small feat. The 960,000-sq.-ft development is expected to be the largest university housing development of its kind in Canada, and will feature sustainable design, energy infrastructural improvements, public realm improvements, thoughtful integration with existing heritage assets, and opportunities for Indigenous engagement.

According to a press release, Westbank was selected by U of T’s evaluation committee through a competitive procurement process, led by CBRE. The project team has also initiated a Request for Quote (RFQ) process to prequalify firms for architectural services.

"With The Gateway, we saw an opportunity to create an inspiring faculty and student family housing project that will incorporate a high degree of innovation in its response to climate change and a level of city building that the University of Toronto consistently strives to achieve," said Ian Gillespie, Founder and CEO of Westbank.

"This project will allow the university to advance its leading role in addressing climate change while accelerating Toronto's path towards carbon neutrality. We look forward to working with the University of Toronto to create not only a new gateway into its campus, but a gateway to more inclusive, low-carbon city-building."

With rental scarcity plaguing every corner of the city, The Gateway project couldn’t come soon enough.

"The Gateway will significantly address the university's strong demand for housing, advancing the academic mission by adding hundreds of new units to the campus and to downtown Toronto," said Scott Mabury, Vice President of Operations and Real Estate Partnerships. "We are thrilled to partner with a team so well aligned with the university's values, with further expertise in design and construction and a solid track record in stakeholder engagement and positive city building."

Cover photo: University of Toronto