Biz group bashes SLC

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By Mariana Ionova
News Editor

Ryerson University has changed the designs for the Student Learning Centre (SLC) in a bid to smooth things over with a business improvement lobby group that bashed the building for being out of sync with the rest of Yonge Street.

The Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Association (BIA) wrote a three-page letter to the SLC building planner in July to “express concern and opposition” to the building, which is set to occupy the northeast corner of Yonge and Gould Streets where Sam the Record Man was formerly located.

In the letter, BIA executive director James Robinson wrote that the proposed SLC does not contain sufficient retail space, would “do little to animate” the street and would undermine the traditional storefront feel of the stretch by placing the entrance on the corner of Gould Street instead of directly on Yonge Street.

Others have also expressed concerns about the SLC and how it would affect the development of the district. Ward 27 councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam told the National Post in July that the business community had serious concerns about the project and that she had met with Ryerson officials to convey ways to correct the design.

In response, Ryerson’s architects altered the plans to include a second entrance on Yonge Street and made stylistic changes to the retail facade to create a more “interesting and dynamic” experience for pedestrians, according to vice-president administration and finance, Julia Hanigsberg.

“The changes made were very well received by the BIA,” said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy.

The alterations to the design have not impacted the schedule or the budget of the project, according to Hanigsberg.

Construction of the SLC is set to begin in early 2012 and the building is expected to be completed by 2014. The centre will be nine stories, with retail space on the ground level and library facilities on the upper floors. A bridge will connect the building to the existing library and the space will also include a new Digital Media Zone.

The project will cost a total of $112 million, with the provincial government providing $45 million of the funding and the university financing the rest of the budget.

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