By Emma Prestwich
Last fall, developers stalked Ryerson to partner with them for a residence building. Now, Ryerson is putting out Requests for Proposals (RFPs) from developers with creative new housing plans, and no one’s biting.
President Sheldon Levy, who has admitted that a public-private partnership is the only financial option for a new residence, said Ryerson has only received two proposals. He expected more.
Ryerson first put out feelers by announcing Requests for Information (RFIs), which stayed open for one year.
“The purpose of going out in two stages was to seek out innovative ideas for development of new student housing options,” said Julia Hanigsberg, vice-president of administration and finance.
Those who were approved in the RFI process would be allowed to submit a response to the RFP, which has more detailed requirements, she said.
Ryerson is not currently accepting any more RFPs and is evaluating the submissions.
Horizon Legacy, which owns Campus Common, has said they are officially making a submission to Ryerson, according to Lourie Chopra, a company administrator.
Levy said, however, that he hadn’t heard about any proposal by Horizon.
The developer originally approached Ryerson three years ago to build Campus Common, but the university turned it down over disagreement about length of leases. Horizon decided to offer one-year housing agreements, while Ryerson wanted eight-month leases that fit with the school year.
Brian Freeman, vice-president at Campus Living Centres, which has also built residences for Seneca College, the University of Guelph, and the University of Western Ontario, said that he’s very interested in partnering with Ryerson but said they haven’t submitted a proposal.
“It’s too premature to say,” he said.
Chad Nuttall, manager of student housing services, said that he thinks there is a great value in residence life services for students, and he has an opportunity to influence the RFP process.
“I’ll need to insert myself to include Rez Life staff,” he said.
He said that firms have approached him looking to use Residence Life services, but that he has directed them to financial services, who deal with purchasing.
Levy said that he’d like to see proposals for housing ideas that can link campus with the Ted Rogers school and Maple Leaf Gardens, or even part of MLG. “Those are ideas that would be exciting for the university.” he said.
Photo: Chelsea Pottage