By Vanessa Greco
Ryerson has finally secured its doorstep on Yonge Street but not everyone in the area is laying out the welcome mat.
In late July, Ryerson paid $2.45 million for World of Posters, a shop on Yonge Street whose former neighbours, Future Shop and Sam the Record Man, were nabbed by the university over a year ago.
Within the year, the poster-store and former Future Shop will be demolished to make room for the Student Learning Centre (SLC), a multi-purpose building intended for the corner of Yonge and Gould Streets to include retail and study space. Ryerson’s library will also be expanded.
“We had to secure World of Posters as one last step in that,” said president Sheldon Levy, adding that the structure is leaning on the hollowed out Future Shop.
“The university either had to shore the building up or buy it,” he said.
Now Ryerson executives have turned their attention towards finding an architect for the SLC. Their decision will be announced in October, around the same time World of Posters is expected to move into their new location at 664 Queen St. W.
“The new location won’t be as busy. I guess as a staff member, not being on Yonge Street will be easier for me,” said Keenan Tamblyn, a sales associate at World of Posters.
“But we aren’t exactly happy we have to move,” he adds. “It’s kind of like we’re being kicked out.”
Tamblyn may not be far from the truth. Earlier this summer, an expropriation notice for World of Posters released by Ryerson appeared in the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star. Expropriation involves seizing private property with government intervention.
According to Linda Grayson, vice-president administration and finance, it never came to that and Ryerson paid fair market value for the property.
“There was no bargaining,” she said. “I mean, everyone asks for more money when you’re selling something, but it’s hard to argue that we should pay more money when you consider square footage.”
Back at World of Posters, Don Ajith stands behind the same counter he’s stood at for more than a decade, showing a customer a catalogue of posters.
Ajith has spoken out against Ryerson’s presence on Yonge Street before, but today he declines to speak with the media, only saying that the store’s lease is up on Jan. 6, 2010 — three months later than Ryerson would like them to move out.