By Annie Arnone
After a year filled with complaints about the quality of living at Parkside Student Residence, the building has undergone a major facelift–and all it took was new management and $40 million in renovations.
The Eyeopener previously reported that in 2016, students living in the housing complex took legal action following maintenance issues and constructional flaws–including collapsing ceiling vents that, in one instance, injured a student after falling on her head.
This year, $40 million was recently spent on renovations, which went towards new furniture, gym equipment and construction costs in order to fix previously flawed designs.
These changes are a result of the student residence’s new managerial team, called Canadian Campus Communities (CCC).
“We can only grow and improve by listening to concerns and feedback, let [students] have a voice and let them have nice housing,” said Joanne Gluck, Parkside’s general manager.
Parkside now offers a meal plan with “all-day service”—a program that students were unhappy with following the building’s opening, due to the lack of food available. Gluck said that since the hiring of new staff, the kitchen ensures that the cafeteria is fully stocked.
Building amenities also include virtual yoga and cycling classes in their workout rooms, which are decked out with flat screen monitors and a list of workout routines to choose from.
According to Gluck, Parkside was recently approached by Google, who is exploring the option of converting their study space on the second floor into a branded Google study space.
“It’s something we’d love to happen,” she said. “I think the main thing they would add to that space is more electronic media.”
Initially, the Parkside complex was known as the Best Western Primrose Hotel, occupied by both students and hotel customers.
The Primrose, according to online reviews, was also not the most ideal space.
Customer reviews left on Yelp stated that the building was “smelly,” furniture was broken and that the ongoing construction was noisy, which woke up some guests during early hours of the morning.
In August 2015, the building was renovated and officially converted to a student housing complex.
In 2016, a private Facebook group was created in order for Parkside residents to have a safe space for their complaints.
The Eye previously reported on one student’s experience, in which they said they were prescribed an inhaler because of the construction dust.
Ysabel Arboleda, a third-year architecture student, lived at Parkside during the time of its opening in 2015, and the time of its renovation the following year. She said that there were always problems with the building.
“You would hear drilling in the mornings, sometimes they would do random water checks and our water wouldn’t work.”
Arboleda added that her living experience the following year was completely different. “It was all sorted out. I would definitely live there again.”
Gluck agrees that before she and her team arrived at Parkside, conditions in the buildings were “horrible.”
The current rate for a room, food services, as well as gym access is between $1160 – $2010 per month, depending on the room style. Rooms range from a shared bed/bath layout at the lowest cost of the spectrum, to a two-bed one-bath penthouse suite.
“It’s not for everyone, I’m the first one to say that,” said Gluck. “But when we do our market analysis we’re not that far off from other housing [costs].”