The decision to buy 2045 Bishop St. will appear as a referendum question in the next CSU general election.
The CSU voted unanimously to let the students decide whether the union should buy a building on Bishops Street for a new student center in the next election.
The purpose of this new building is to create a student center that would include offices for CSU, as well as space for other fee-paying student clubs and groups. The CSU could also use the space to hold its own events.
The price per square foot of the building is $419.31, making the 13,000 square foot building a purchase cost of $5.5 million. The CSU is also studying the possibility of adding an additional floor. As this is not a heritage building, CSU will have the ability to renovate and make changes to the building as needed.
CSU has been exploring the possibility of creating its own student center for some time. They initially approached Concordia to rent space, but those spaces were deemed unaffordable. However, according to CSU President Eduardo Malorni, Concordia will offer financial support in other ways, although these were not specified at the special board meeting held on February 17.
The downtown property is located directly across from the Hall Building at 2045 Bishops St. “In terms of location, it doesn’t get more ideal than this,” Malorni said.
The prime location is one of the many reasons Malorni believes the time is right for CSU to purchase the building.
“Other reasons why now is the time is that we have a good surplus in the fund, where we could spend it and not be completely depleted or be left in a situation where we might not be able to maintain the building for a long time.”
Buying the building would also give CSU more independence and control over the events and activities it wants to create for students.
“It’s a step into the future of CSU being more independent from the university. Even if Concordia acquires buildings, it doesn’t necessarily mean those buildings will be used for student life,” the CSU adviser said. Lauren Perozek.
“This building would be under our responsibility and control. We could use it for more activities related to student life and our contribution to students.
The project will be primarily funded by the Student Space, Accessible Education & Legal Contingency Fund (SSAELC fund). The SSAELC fund was created 20 years ago and since then it has been used for other purposes. Its original purpose was to be used for the purchase of property and the creation of a student center. The fund has now accumulated enough capital to make this initial goal possible. CSU will also pursue other grants to fund the building’s goal.
The syndicate will have to undergo a heavy due diligence process involving numerous inspections of the building. Some parts of it will require renovations, but others are usable at this time. The result of the referendum question as well as the results of the numerous building inspections will determine whether the CSU goes through with the purchase of the building.
“There are spaces that are not in very good condition, but they are usable. So we could definitely use it for many purposes already. From day one we own it,” Malorni said.
According to Malorni, CSU doesn’t actually need to send that spending to the referendum at all, but he thinks students should be involved in the decision.
“I personally think that if we are going to spend such a large sum, like $5.5 million, our decision should be backed by student consent on this, which is why I want to send it to a referendum.”
Photos courtesy of Catherine Reynolds