Volume 92, Issue 2

Friday, May 22, 1998

increase this


Admin buy $240,000 house

Gazette Staff

The construction of Western's new student residence is no longer a concern for the former residents of 33 Tower Lane – the university has taken ownership of the property.

Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, would not reveal the purchase price of the property but said the cost was determined at fair market value by appraisal.

Records at the Land Registry Office for the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations indicate the property was purchased for $240,000 by Western's Board of Governors.

The owners of the property, Ralph Sweitzer and Donald Barham, originally approached the university about selling their property in January when the new residence was announced. They had owned the property since December 1995 when they bought it for $182,500.

Kenneth McGill, lawyer for Sweitzer and Barham throughout the deal, refused to comment on the feelings of his clients regarding the purchase price.

Peter Hill, VP-campus issues for the University Students' Council said he is troubled with the purchase of the property. "I think maybe the owners were looking to make money." He added he was surprised the university would spend this amount of money and still ask students for more money for tuition.

Mercer explained the university's intention is to rent the home throughout the construction period of the new student residence, then sell the property once construction has been completed.

"It's an attractive house. I don't think there will be a problem selling it," he said.

Don Cameron, sales representative with Royal LePage Real Estate Services said the university would probably not have any problems renting the property to students. "Generally speaking, people buy houses that are in good shape – students don't usually care so much about that as they do the location of the house."

Cameron also pointed out the university may find problems selling the house to permanent residents because of its close proximity to the new residence. "The most logical purchaser is going to rent the house to others," he said.

Jay Casselman, next-door neighbour of 33 Tower Lane, admitted he was concerned about the possibility of having rowdy students moving in next to him. "There is a lot of bitterness on the street about this issue. Things are deteriorating quickly," he said.

Casselman also said he feels the new student residence will have a negative impact on the street and if the house is frequently rented to students, the value of the entire street will decrease.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998