by Julianna Cummins
Ryerson is reaching out to yet another private partner in a bid to make Yonge Street between Gould and Gerrard a corridor the city can be proud of.
Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said there have been preliminary discussions about how the university could play a role in the general development of the east side of Yonge Street where Primaris REIT owns several properties.
“We have an interest in seeing that block… cleaned up,” Levy said.
Between Gould and Gerrard Streets, Zanzibar strip club and a number of sex shops call the east side of Yonge Street home.
Primaris REIT declined to comment, but information on the company’s website says five properties were acquired on Yonge Street since 2007 for a total of $36 million, with the overall goal of participating in the future redevelopment and gentrification of the area.
Levy said Ryerson could possibly play into the development of Yonge Street with Primaris REIT through establishing a residence. “We have no money to put to this. Residences fund themselves, so we would be saying to the private sector we need residence rooms,” said Levy. He cautioned, however, that Ryerson’s role would have to be outlined by the company and not the university.
Chad Nuttall, housing manager, said he’d support residence developments.
“When you look at the upper years and grad students and the first-year class that we can’t take in, there’s definitely a demand,” he said.
Rosario Sortino, a tattoo artist at Ultimate Tattoos at 363B Yonge St., said he thinks the perceived seedy character of Yonge Street comes from the sheer density of the area.
“Go to anywhere in Toronto, there’s actually a lot of sex shops everywhere. You just don’t notice it because they aren’t stacked on every block,” said Sortino. He said that any redevelopment on the strip would be good for his business, although he would be opposed if smaller, family-owned businesses were pushed out.