CSU Council Rejects Purchase of Former Burritoville Building

Executive Team to Reevaluate Proposal

The building, 2055 Bishop, is listed at $1,695,000 and used to house Burritoville, the solidarity cooperative that closed down in May 2015. Photo Alexander Perez

The Concordia Student Union attempted to purchase a building to use as student space on Bishop St. after it went on sale on in early June. The proposal was then rejected at a council meeting on June 14.

The building, 2055 Bishop, is listed at $1,695,000 and used to house Burritoville, the solidarity cooperative that closed down in May 2015.

The proposal was brought to council as a way to increase student space around campus. CSU General Coordinator, Omar Riaz, said that there is a big challenge for students to meet and hold events together. He added that when the building went up for sale, the executive team figured that it could fit student needs.

“It just looked like the logical thing to do given that repeatedly, clubs have asked for space,” Riaz said. “We have about 100 clubs and only 20 of them have space.”

Riaz said that the CSU did make an offer on the building, though he could not say the exact amount, on the condition that council would approve it.

The CSU would have used the Student Space, Accessible Education, and Legal Contingency fund, which has about $10 million, to purchase the building.

Council didn’t end up approving the offer because it seemed like the proposal was rushed according to CSU councillor Rowan Gaudet.

“There were a lot of concerns that council had that weren’t able to be addressed properly,” said Gaudet. “It was 2 weeks into their mandate so it was kind of something that was looked at with a skeptical eye already.”

Gaudet also said that the building needed renovations, but the CSU executive didn’t have a clear answer as to how much it would exactly cost. Despite the concerns, Gaudet added that he liked the potential of the project, and that it addressed a student need.

“Council has recommended some stuff for us,” Riaz said. “We’ll be bringing back more information, [and] research to council to make a better informed decision.”

“We don’t know how long [the building will] stay [on the market], or if it will be sold by the time we are finished doing the visioning of the building,” he added.

Riaz said that a proposal such as this one would not have to go through a referendum according to their Special By-Law I, which states that the CSU council has the authority to approve any use of the SSAELC fund in order to purchase land or buildings for student space.

“Council can approve however much money the SSAELC fund has, but that’s not doesn’t necessarily mean that we should,” Gaudet said.

The CSU is no stranger to working with Concordia university on student spaces. They are in the process of building a daycare for student parents. The CSU is also one of the main contributors to the student housing project with the Unité de travail pour l’implantation de logement étudiant.