Students frustrated over housing limbo at Parkside residence

Victoria Chan reports. 

Students are frustrated that a new off-campus residence building has yet to open its doors to all residents, pushing move-in dates past the first day of classes.

It’s been nearly a month since the new, privately owned Parkside Student Residence fell behind schedule for opening, a wait that left students dispersed across the city.

The building, located at the corner of Jarvis and Carlton streets, is the former site of the Primrose Hotel. It’s been converted into an off-campus residence that houses students from a range of downtown Toronto universities and colleges, including Ryerson University. Monthly rental packages range from $990 to $1,985.

Students and their parents say the residence delayed move-in dates over and over again. Akini Davidson, a first-year Ryerson student studying creative industries, said he was supposed to move in on Aug. 18

“But they changed it to (Aug.) 25,” he said. “It was fine because it was only a week, but then they kept changing it.”

Davidson, originally from Ajax, Ont., said students were told through emails that the building was facing delays because it hasn’t passed inspections from the city and the fire marshal’s office. He said there had been up to five delays.

Davidson finally moved into the residence on Friday, but he was previously staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Toronto. But many students have not yet been asked to move in.

“I’m just baffled by the mistakes they made,” he said. “Even if we have to delay moving in for a while, just be upright with it.”

The residence, developed by Knightstone Capital Management, is paying for hotel rooms to temporarily house the students. But some students are also complaining that they have been moved from one hotel to another.

Alexandra Grant, a first-year student from London, Ont., who is studying at the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, said two of her friends have been moved to up to three hotels. “The one before the (hotel) they just moved to had bedbugs,” she said.

Grant, who is currently living with relatives in the city, says international students have it worse. “There are people coming in from Australia, apparently there are people from Egypt living in the building,” she said.

“I’m lucky compared to some of the kids who have never been to Toronto and are buying all their meals from Subway and Starbucks.”

Students said they have been told that those on select floors of the residence will be able to move into Parkside this weekend. But Grant is still concerned that students who move in won’t have access to amenities such as the building’s cafeteria and fitness centre.

The Ryersonian made several attempts to contact the Parkside Student Residence, but it has yet to comment on the situation.

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