By Deborah Gardner
Pass the popcorn — Ryerson students will soon be studying at the movies.
Up to 12 movie theatres will become part-time lecture halls thanks to an agreement between Ryerson and the City of Toronto.
The theatres, part of the new 30-cinema complex being built by AMC Theatres above the Ryerson parking garage, will be available to the university, rent-free, weekday morning from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“I think what we’ll see is a better use of the land and a better use of Ryerson,” said City of Toronto mayor, Barbara Hall. “It will create a more positive environment for you at the university.”
Linda Grayson, v.p. administration and student affairs, was quoted as saying Ryerson will get $1 million in cash and keep all of its parking revenues from the garage in the deal. A letter from Ryerson president Claude Lajeunesse said the net value of the deal will be $17.1 million over the next 20 years.
But both city and Ryerson officials refused to comment on the details of the “creative agreement” which should have been announced Tuesday but the news conference ways cancelled.
The complex, approved by the city in May, is part of an effort to improve the Yonge-Dundas area. Other projects include a cement park on the south-east corner of Yonge St., a hotel-condo complex, and redesigning the Victoria-Dunda corner of campus.
Ryerson won’t be losing any property in the deal.
“The hope is (the complex) will transform the neighbourhood,” said Grayson. “We know if we’re not actively involved in transforming the area it will continue to deteriorate.”
She said the project will change the whole “tone” of the neighbourhood.
“This is really exciting,” said Angelo DeLuca, president of RyeSAC. “This is Ryerson being at the right place at the right time.”
The project is set to start in the spring of 1998 and should be completed in summer of 1999.
The owners of many of the properties of many of the properties being acquired by the city are appealing the development to the Ontario Municipal Board. The hearing is planned for Dec. 8.