Student centre shops a possibility

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By Irene Papakonstantinou 

It looks like Ryerson isn’t the ideal location for Toronto’s newest shopping centre.

RyeSAC’s proposal to add retail space to the planned Student Campus Centre is being challenged by the centre’s director of student activities, Ken Jones.

“I guess the main problem is demographics.  I mean there’s over 1,000 retailers within a one-kilometre radius surrounding the school.  The area is saturated with coffee shops.  Residents already have a facility to do their laundry, and then there’s the Eaton Centre.  What’s left?” said Jones at RyeSAC’s first open forum meeting on the development of the center held Monday in Olive Baker Lounge.  Only four students attended.

Jones cited several other problems with RyeSAC’s proposal.  He said Ryerson’s location isn’t attractive to retailers because it’s tucked away in the downtown core, reducing the visibility of shops to the general public.

Also, the decreased amount of students attending Ryerson during the summer months would make it difficult to rent retail space in the new centre.

RyeSAC president David Steele said the council is examining all of its options and he believes revenue for the centre doesn’t have to be retail specific.  Steele stressed the centre is for students and if retail spaces are rented, it will be to the benefit of the student population.

RyeSAC’s retail suggestions include a snack shop, travel services, a hairstylist, a licensed café and a pharmacy.  Renting rooms for conferences or adding a new student parking lot are also possibilities.

But nothing is for sure, Steele said.  RyeSAC won’t know how much space will be available for retail sites until the financial report on the centre is released in a few months.

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