On Thursday night, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus purchased the Market Square building on Market St. for $5.8 million.
With the school year just beginning, Laurier Brantford’s community is quickly expanding to a bigger and better campus with this new purchase.
“Because we have a commitment to expanding our campus here in Brantford, the facility will provide us with real flexibly to continue to grow and to take on expanded programming,” explained Brian Rosborough, senior executive officer at the Brantford campus.
With the continuous revitalization of the downtown core, Rosborough further explained the positives to this decision.
“Market Square is fully integrated into the downtown,” he said. “[It]is an ideal addition to our campus properties that will help us to continue to be a part of [the] downtown and support our expansion.”
Rosborough explained that after a year of discussion and a vote in favour of the deal, the purchase of Market Square coupled with Laurier’s investment in the YMCA facility demonstrates the university’s commitment to grow in Brantford and remain part of the community in the long term.
“There’s a number of city services in The Market Square facility and they will remain in place for the foreseeable future as we consider how best to start using the space for university purposes,” Rosborough said. Currently, Market Square holds many empty units and very few functioning services that include a coffee shop, discount stores, and a call center.
Space inside will provide the Laurier community with opportunity for a heavily requested campus food facility, library, offices, additional classrooms, and more.
Amber Stratton, a first-year Concurrent Education student at Laurier Brantford, is excited to hear the news so early in her university career.
“All of O-Week I was saying to myself, ‘Why don’t we buy Market Square?’” she said. “We need a nice big central place – let’s face it, RCW isn’t really that big!”
Stratton enjoys the small campus and how affiliated it is with the city.
“My class today was talking about how some of the citizens of Brantford were concerned about the university just abandoning the downtown core,” she explained. “I think this proves even more to the citizens of Brantford that the university is here to stay and we’re going to continue to work on it!”
“There are number of things here on campus that we still need to consider in terms of having a complete array of services that meets the needs of our students and faculty, and we see the Market Square facility as an ideal location for us to explore how to create those services to meet the needs of the campus,” Rosborough said.
Second year Journalism student Stephanie Taylor, misses the way downtown Brantford used to be growing up as a child.
“Being a Brantford local, I love how [Laurier] brought life back to the downtown,” said second-year Journalism student Stephanie Taylor. “[It] makes me appreciate the city a little bit more.”
“It continues to grow the downtown campus, it offers many amenities and opportunities for students – which will increase student satisfaction,” explains Mayor Chris Friel on the sale of The Market Square.
The sale of the mall had been an ongoing negotiation since last May; Friel believes there “could not be a better solution” for the nearly vacant mall.
“We only sold the bricks and mortar,” clarified Friel; the second part of the mall is The head lease, owned by GK York – property management services. “Laurier has to come to an agreement to pick up the head lease,” Friel continued.
The head lease includes aspects such as the functions of the mall, such as maintenance and leasing. Deals are set to be finalized with a few weeks.