In August, U of T purchased the property that houses the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the corner of College Street and Spadina Avenue.
The four acre property consists of three buildings: the main 15-storey CAMH building at 250 College Street, and two buildings on Russell Street, all built in 1968, in addition to a parking garage and a house used as an office space.
The buildings are currently occupied by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, which will remain there until 2038 with an option for an additional 20-year extension.
CAMH is one of the U of T’s fully-affiliated hospital partners and is the only emergency psychiatric care facility open 24 hours a day in Ontario. In 2016, 23.7 per cent of the 10,674 CAMH patients were between the ages of 16 and 24.
In addition, numerous U of T professors conduct significant research in mental health and substance use at CAMH, making its proximity to campus convenient.
U of T had to compete with commercial developers to acquire the property. The university believes that the acquisition will be important in advancing U of T’s interest in city building, and improving its relationship with the City of Toronto. The university purchased the site from former owner Brookfield Asset Management for $123 million, most of which will be paid for with long-term debt and financial reserves and cash.
U of T’s Vice-President University Operations Scott Mabury told The Varsity that U of T will not influence CAMH’s operations. As the university’s sister institution, CAMH has many collaborative and partnership arrangements with U of T, all of which are expected to continue. Additionally, the change in ownership will not affect students seeking help at the facility.
The acquisition is projected to be beneficial once CAMH’s lease expires. “We have an acute need for more student residences, so when the land actually becomes available… that space will be available to build buildings that will support the academic community and our academic mission,” Mabury said.
In addition, the space is likely to be used for university research, teaching, and innovation. It is presently unknown whether CAMH will seek to extend their lease at their current location or move elsewhere in 2038.