By Claire Lee
President Sheldon Levy wants to build a new athletic centre on the Sears parking lot. But first, he wants the Ontario government to give it to Ryerson — for free.
Ryerson is in talks with the province about the future of the parking lot at 222 Jarvis St.
“They are going to have to help us in many ways to take on additional students,” said Levy. “One way they can help us is help us fund the land.”
Levy said he hopes to see Ontario’s support for the growing demand and student population at Ryerson.
“Give it to us for nothing or give me the money to give back to you,” said Levy. “I’ll take it either way.”
The Sears office building and its parking lot have been the property of the Ontario government since last year. But Levy only wants the parking lot because the building would cost too much to convert into classrooms.
Although Ryerson doesn’t have the funds to build, Levy still dreams big.
“If you had the whole parking lot, that’s a really great footprint for something like an athletic centre,” he said.
Julia Sakas, a representative of Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC), said while it’s still too early to talk about the deal, Ryerson is making a good case to claim the property. ORC makes property purchases on behalf of the provincial government.
“I think Ryerson is already on the right track because we are so early in our process of finding out what to do with it and they are already presenting an opportunity for the site,” Sakas said.
“Contributing in the consultation with ORC during their decision making process would probably be your best course of action.”