Fanshawe makes offer on Kingsmill's building

CTV NEWS LONDON | london.ctvnews.ca

Fanshawe College has made a conditional offer on Kingsmill's iconic downtown London location at 130 Dundas Street.

If the deal goes ahead it would expand the building to a six-storey, 101,000 sq. foot campus and bring another 1,600 students to the city core.
Peter Devlin, Fanshawe's president, says increasing the number of students in the downtown to 2,000 would have a great impact on London.

Fanshawe says the project would cost about $66.2 million, and while the college would put in $46.2 million of its own money, it would likely ask the city for $10 million more - that's on top of $20 million already committed by the city for the college's expansion.

Part of the reason for the bigger price tag is that the scope of the project is larger than originally thought, double the number of students, in fact.

The college will present its plan to city council on July 22nd, but Councillor Joe Swan says the earliest the college could receive the money - if the city agrees to the plan - is 2015.

The extra $10 million isn't the only thing for the city to consider though. It currently gets about $300,000 in taxes from the building, which would end if it becomes an educational institution.

An extensive structural assessment and feasibility study has already determined reconstruction of the building's interior will be needed. However, the building's facade and other unique features will be respected, according to the college.

Tim Kingsmill, president of Kingsmill's, said in a statement "It’s very important to our family to leave the Kingsmill property in good hands and to ensure it remains a lively contributor to downtown London. We firmly believe that the College presents us with that opportunity."

It is hoped construction would start in the fall of 2015 and be completed by 2018.

This is not the first conditional offer on the building though, in November a group of local non-profits put in a conditional offer, but found the renovations would be too costly.

Last year, Kingsmill's - London's oldest retailer - announced it would be closing after 148 years in business.