By Otiena Ellwand
In the drab downtown landscape, the brightly coloured building on Gerrard Street stands like a beacon, beckoning approximately ten students per day into its sparsely furnished lobby to inquire about apartment rentals.
This brand new building is called Campus Common, situated directly across the street from Ryerson’s North Kerr Hall. It has become a draw to many students, particularly the 800 or so students who currently live in Ryerson’s residences who will be forced to move out next year.
At the moment, the interior looks like a very sterile environment with cement walls painted white to prevent mould growth and that new-construction smell still lingers in the air.
Erika Landry, a first-year fashion and design student who currently lives in Pitman Hall, plans to move in as soon as the semester is finished.
She said she likes the rooms because “they are big and bright and they let you paint.”
The building looks more sophisticated than residence, boasting 187 rooms and environmentally-friendly features, some of which have yet to begin working.
The building opened its first six floors to students behind schedule on Nov. 1. Even though the official grand opening on Dec. 6 is long overdue, the building is not yet completely finished.
When it does open completely it will only be available to students. Jeff Newhouse, a second-year business management student, was one of them.
“When I moved in it wasn’t really ready, so it kinda sucked with all the construction and junk,” he said. “Now things are basically finished, there are still very few people in the building so it’s kinda boring, but I’m sure it will fill up. It is expensive, but it is so close to class.”
A standard single apartment (307-367 sq. ft.) goes for $899 per month. Jordan Powers, a first-year engineering student, pipes up, “I don’t want to live anywhere with students. School and living should not be connected. It’s too hard to get any work and shit done in residence, I just want to tuck myself away somewhere.”
Also, because the friend Powers wants to live with is not a student, they can’t live in Campus Common.
The website claims that the “corridor windows reduce the need for artificial lighting,” but on this sunny afternoon, all of the corridor lights were lit.
Another of the apartment’s eco-wise features is the “three-chute, waste recycling station on every floor encouraging responsible waste disposal,” but downstairs in the waste disposal room, garbage and recycling are coming through the same chute and the other two chutes have yet to be installed.
Atiya Alibhai, a first-year business-management student, said that the people she knows who have checked it out say that it looks too much like living in residence.
Aytan Mammadova, the building manager, said that the proximity to school is one of its major draws.
“It is perfect for students … people from the dance and theatre school, especially girls, have a two minute walk home to their building. Parents say, ‘now I can sleep quietly,’” she said.
Katie Evans, a first-year dance student, said that she likes the idea of being able to roll out of bed and go next door to attend her regular 8 a.m. classes, but the biggest apartment is a three bedroom and she plans to share with four.
With a motherly smile, Mammadova admits that at the beginning she was timid to start working with students, but now she gushes with pride at how smart, respectful and hard-working the apartment dwellers are.