Guidance statement for development of University of Waterloo lands

University of Waterloo property is a public trust and a long-term endowment for furthering academic goals.  Its lands are an invaluable resource, large and varied enough to accommodate a wide range of uses without the necessity of choosing a single development path.  While university lands are used primarily to support the University of Waterloo’s educational and research mission, the university is prepared to consider the long-term commitment of these lands where beneficial results can be derived.  To provide a strategy for the management of these lands, the Campus Master Plan: Framework for Development addresses in detail the stewardship of one of the University of Waterloo’s most valuable assets, the North Campus.

Although its posits a number of uses for the North Campus, the Master Plan is unequivocal on two points: research and development activities and related office use are the most desirable undertakings, and given that its value will almost certainly increase, the North Campus must be developed in a way to foster enterprises of high quality and prestige.  To this end, the Master Plan provides for a parcel of land for “research and development uses located within the south-east quadrant of the North Campus and related to the adjacent University and industrial lands.” The University is directed to encourage activity on this site which has not only potential for transfer of knowledge between University research activities and the private sector, but also for formal linkages to established enterprises where there are clearly-defined benefits for the University of Waterloo.


The University’s purpose in using part of its lands for such a development stems from the following interests complementary to its role and purpose:

  • to encourage the creation or relocation of research-based companies whose research and development interests are compatible with research and development activities in the University;
  • to provide suitable employment for University of Waterloo co-op students and graduates;
  • to produce a long-term financial benefit that will help the University to enhance the quality and relevance of its programs of teaching, research and service;
  • to assist in the economic and social enhancement of the surrounding community by facilitating the creation or relocation of companies or agencies employing highly-skilled people.

It may be that not all four of these objectives will be achieved in every opportunity for development, but the aim would be to maximize the benefits implicit in these goals.


With these four objectives in mind, the University is prepared to enter into exploration of possible development of its designated land under the following conditions, dictated by the responsibility of the University to all its stakeholders not to jeopardize either its fiscal viability or the quality of its programs, and by the current and projected financial climate in which the University operates:

  • there shall be no net increase in operating or capital expenses, nor shall there be any collateral risk for the University of Waterloo resulting from the development agreement;
  • pursuant to the Campus Master Plan: Framework for Development, land title shall be retained by the University of Waterloo;
  • The University of Waterloo shall exercise ultimate control over land lease arrangements and shall exercise reasonable control over building lease arrangements including design, specifications, tenants, maintenance, and operation;
  • performance clauses regarding appropriate uses for the lands shall be based on the overall benefit to the University of Waterloo;
  • Board of Governors approval shall be required for the overall proposal.

On the basis of these conditions, the University is prepared to enter into partnership with those who can facilitate the development of the University’s land for the indicated objectives.

January 10, 1997
presented for information to the Board, June 4, 1996
[approved by the Board February 4, 1997]

Full-service professional firms

Board agreed to interpret these guidelines as permitting the location of full-service professional firms on the condition that the University of Waterloo must:

  • ensure the appropriate communities are aware of the possibility of park tenancy;
  • ensure the firms meet the prime test of high quality and prestige;
  • prescribe limits in terms of size, as required;
  • reserve the right to restrict the number of firms offering such services;
  • have strong evidence that these firms will meet the objectives for the long-term development of the Park, and the associated benefits to the University;
  • ensure such activity meets the zoning requirements of the municipality.

[approved by the Board October 28, 2003]