RYE LOSES MORE THAN $107,000 ON UNUSED SPACE

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By Carmen Chai

Ryerson is out $107,200 in taxes because the school took over a year to move into some newly-acquired space.

In April 2006, Ryerson took over a 160-square metre space on the third floor of the Rogers Communication Centre that was once used by radio station CJRT.

The space sat empty until September 2007, when the school set up the offices of the Faculty of Communication and Design on the floor.

Ryerson is supposed to be exempt from taxes, but the exemption only applies to space that the school is currently using. Because it wasn’t using the former CJRT offices for over a year, the university had to keep paying the taxes on it.

“Now that FCAD is using the space, we can apply to be exempt from taxes like the rest of the campus,” said Manuel Ravinsky of Campus Planning and Facilities.

The school is applying to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation to refund some of the money.

Ryerson has been paying about $6,700 a month for the space for 16 months, for a total of $107,200.

Ryerson could apply for reimbursement of the taxation for half the amount, or about $53,600. Taxes between April and September won’t be refunded.

MPAC will have to come to the school to reassess the space, and Greg Martino, Account Manager of Municipal Relations for the group, doesn’t know how long it’ll be until Ryerson sees the money.

“It varies on the complexity of the issue and how long it takes for MPAC to obtain all the necessary information. Each situation is unique,” he said.

Ravinsky said it would probably take about a year.

“We’ve done it before. The building our Campus Planning offices are in used to be a commercial building six years ago, Once we moved in, we applied to MPAC,” he said.

Ravinsky doesn’t think paying the $53,600 in taxes for vacant space is a waste of money.

“We don’t lose. It’s for a relatively short periods that the buildings are taxable. If we need to renovate, it takes less than a year.”

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