By Mariana Ionova
Ryerson may be juggling a handful of complex projects but that isn’t stopping the university from eyeing a new challenge in the Empress Hotel, on the corner of Yonge and Gould Streets.
The university first expressed interest in the property in July, when director of public affairs Janet Mowat told the Toronto Star that Ryerson may consider the property “if the price were right.”
Ryerson has since been in contact with lawyers representing the Lalani Group, the current owners of the site.
“Sure we’re interested, but it’s not ours and we have to understand fully what is it that the building requires from the city in heritage,” Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said. “And that we don’t know, it’s not clear to us.”
The 122-year-old heritage building made news when a part of its façade collapsed in April, leading to a partial closure of Gould Street.
But the poor condition of the property is nothing compared to its strategic value to the university, according to Ryerson president Sheldon Levy.
“It’s sort of like the entrance to your campus,” Levy said, adding that the site is important to the university and must be looked after.
Since the Dundad station subway platform ends directly below the building, the location is also important for Ryerson because it could make the subway accessible on campus.
“So, that’s the building, of all the areas, to have a subway access directly on campus,” Levy said.
But, although the Lalani Group has been disputing with the city as the whether or not the building should be demolished, it is unclear if they are interested in selling the property.