The Primrose Hotel is being renovated into a new residence building. PHOTO: ANNIE ARNONE

Best Western hotel turns into student res

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By Jake Kivanc

The Primrose Hotel — formerly half hotel, half student housing and part of the Best Western hotel chain — is in the process of becoming the newest Ryerson-area residence.

Known today as Parkside, the student-only residence will be completely renovated.

“We basically gutted out everything. New hallways, redone bathrooms, a brand new dining hall, brand new mattresses, rooms that have been completely torn up. It’s night and day,” said Kamal Uppal, the marketing manager for Parkside.

The student residence allows any Toronto student accommodation.

Darya Nikitenko, a Ryerson engineering student says she experienced a “nightmare” living situation during her stay last term, back in the building’s Primrose days.

“There [were] mouldy showers, mouldy curtains, even things like the elevators not working properly or the ridiculous things like the [hotel management] shifting us around from floor to floor with next to no warning,” she said.

Nikitenko said that due to the transitional renovations and construction going on in the building during the time of her stay, she would often be woken up by loud jackhammers and the sound of tools slamming into walls. She also added that she and her floormates were abruptly asked to pick up their stuff and move floors so that it could be cleared for renovations, with no help from the building’s staff.

Like official Ryerson residence buildings, such as Pitman Hall and ILLC, Parkside has mandatory meal plan options for its residents, with prices ranging from $440 monthly to $2,640 semi-annually.

The cheapest semi-annual rental package starts at $5,940 and ends at the highest price of $11,910. Where as Pitman’s prices are as high as $5,713.21 semi-annually and are cheapest at $4,801.

Uppal says the building has received $25 million in upgrades since being acquired by Knightstone Capital Management, and will feature amenities such as a fully-functional gym, large social spaces and a built-in cafeteria.

The new room options include the standard single, double and apartment room types generally found in student housing buildings, with a total of 608 beds in the residence.

“At Ryerson, we do not have enough residence space to meet demand, which is why we are adding 2,000 more Ryerson residence spaces (the first 900+ slated to be ready for 2018),” said Ian Crookshank, Ryerson’s director of housing and residence life, in an email.

“Parkside is an off-campus student housing building that is currently providing space for some of our unmet demand.”

Parkside officially opens its doors on Sept. 2.

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