The 4 Corners Strategy is a double-bottom line real estate strategy that looks to advance the academic mission by providing high-quality innovation space, student and faculty housing, and ancillary retail near our three campuses while generating risk-appropriate returns to the University. Managed by the University’s Real Estate department, the strategy offers exclusive development and leasing access to unique University-owned properties in some of the GTA’s most desirable locations while providing the University with needed facilities and unprecedented new and sustainable revenue. The developments are design-forward and respect neighbourhood context with community consultation.
The strategy, approved in November 2018, incorporates commercially viable projects and will see financial returns for the institution that will be used toward future academic investments. The University has set an ambitious goal of developing roughly 3.5 million square feet of new space around the downtown campus alone, devoted to campus services and amenities, which includes housing, and ancillary office retail space. The revenues will be used to create a strategic investment fund to advance U of T’s mission in research and teaching. Down the road, the plan is to eventually match the annual revenue generated by U of T’s endowment.
U of T’s “4 Corners” development strategy is unique for another reason: U of T is leveraging its considerable experience in designing, developing and managing buildings to keep its real-estate development work in-house. The University wants to maintain as much control as possible over the properties it develops and partnerships it enters so it’s in a position to reap the most benefits. The University will take an active management role in all third-party partnerships in order to: 1) protect the University’s academic mission interests, 2) enhance the campus environment, and 3) manage the University’s risk.