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Sam the Record Man Closure

unimaginative2

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Everything must go? What about the building?
GEOFF NIXON

June 2, 2007

With the iconic flagship Sam the Record Man up for sale, a number of property-development sharks are circling its exterior. Why not? How often does street-side space on Yonge Street in the heart of downtown come available?

One of the most eager of those sharks is Ryerson University. The school that recently saw its applications jump by 20 per cent is growing at a rate that exceeds its land-locked campus. Now Ryerson is eyeing the glittering discs that light up the street beside its library building.

Ryerson president Sheldon Levy says he has been interested in acquiring the property since he came to Ryerson in 2005.

"I have been at Ryerson for two years and within a very, very short time there, I saw it was a strategic property," says Mr. Levy, who sees it as a key conduit to expanding student study space on campus or to growing the campus library.

For now, however, Mr. Levy says the two sides "are not even close" to any sort of agreement, but admits that the school continues to keep tabs on the availability of 347 Yonge St.
 

ShonTron

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Sheldon Levy's got big plans indeed. One such plan is to knock down Kerr Hall. I think Ryerson would be the best owner of the property, as long as it keeps the signs (which I think might be more likely to do than another retailer).
 

Long Island Mike

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Ian Coutts G&M Sam's Story

Everyone: The story by Ian Coutts brought back memories to me on how Sam's was INSIDE-let alone the historic signs outside. It was always cool to search in stores like Sam's-where the staff knew and enjoyed their music and would help you find something compared to chain retailers where this was noticeably lacking. Every now and then you hear of music retailers that go that extra step-like well-known local places such as Bleecker Bob's in Greenwich Village,NYC or a local Philadelphia area record store called Plastic Fantastic-Ardmore,PA. I would rather purchase music from these mom and pop-style retailers than the big ones anyday-if anything just to keep them in business. Places like Sam's are getting to be rare these days-I for one hope they will not become extinct. LI MIKE
 

CDL.TO

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Ryerson could buy it, keep the signs, and make it the RECORDS building! Get it?!? HA HA HA!

I'm sorry.


One such plan is to knock down Kerr Hall.
I must be the only person who really doesn't mind Kerr Hall. All it needs is a good reno (which it has probably never had since it was built) and some realignment of the entrances. The only problem I have with it that couldn't be fixed is the blank wall along Gerrard. It's a good use of space, pretty good materials, and serves such an interesting mix of uses. Engineering labs followed by theatre space followed by a swimming pool followed by a gym followed by a woodshop followed by a computer lab followed by fashion workspace...

Knock down Jorgenson Hall instead. ALL OF IT. PLEASE.
 

ShonTron

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Globe and Mail article

I'll repost it in the Ryerson thread, but the plan's here. I don't hate Kerr either, but I'd be up for selective demolition, not replacing the whole thing. I don't mind the south side, particularly the central part, which looks attractive and like a university building should with the clock tower and the panels showing the types of courses one could take.
 

fiendishlibrarian

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Sam's sons apparently were (are?) dullard slacker cokeheads who basically ran the business into the ground and evaded their creditors. Wonder what will be left of the old Sniderman-Mirvish-Lastman enterprises in the next few years.
 

adma

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Except that I don't think of "dullard slacker cokehead" relative to David Mirvish. Au contraire, the worst I've heard of him (and not my opinion, just opinion I've heard) is that he's an Ignatieffesque pompous ass.

Though on such grounds, I can see Honest Ed's itself driven into the ground under his watch--a bit of a cleancut inversion of the dullard-slacker-cokehead scenario.

Better Sniderman parallels might be various media-mogul (Slaight, Waters, Asper, etc) or sports-mogul (Ballard, etc) families...
 

adma

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...bought by the fine citizens of Ladysmith, BC, and and donated to the Pamela Anderson museum opening on her 40th birthday on July 1, 2007...

(As if.)
 

Skeezix

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An update from torontoist on the auction to sell the Sam's sign:

SOS—Save Our Sam's

June 14, 2007

In less than two weeks, all of Sam the Record Man's contents are going up for sale at auction. Yesterday, we confirmed with Benaco Sales Ltd., the auctioneers for the property, that the most coveted and contentious part of the building—its entire front facade, including the iconic "THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT" records and "SAM" logos (minus the red backdrop, which is unmovable)—would indeed be part of the sale. But that's not the end of the story.

The Save the Sam's Sign!!! Facebook group, which is fast approaching 20,000 members, is, understandably, freaking out (as is the other Facebook group devoted to the same end, with about 10,000 members). Posted to the Save the Sam's Sign group's page is an e-mail from Heritage Toronto, written by Rod Kelly. It reads, in part, as follows:

Upon hearing that there was an interest in having the [neon signs on the front of the Sam the Record Man store] designated as being of heritage significance, Heritage Toronto immediately contacted Heritage Preservation Services, the City of Toronto department responsible for the Inventory of Heritage Properties, requesting that the issue be reviewed and what future steps could be taken to have the signs designated.

Within hours Heritage Toronto was told that the City of Toronto would be going forward to designate the sign. The designation will describe the sign, location and require that should the site be redeveloped the sign will be reinstalled, same location and be lighted at night. Heritage Toronto has committed to continue to work with Heritage Preservation Services to advance the plan and congratulates them for their swift and positive response.

The process for designation under the Ontario Heritage Act is essential to be sure that all aspects of the subject matter are assessed thoroughly and detailed in any recommendation to designate the site or structure.


Heritage Toronto's website confirms the information, and today we spoke on the phone with Rod Kelly from Heritage Toronto, who also reiterated the information provided so far.

While the city (specifically, Heritage Preservation Services) intends to designate the signs as historical under the Ontario Heritage Act, and thus keep them intact, illuminated lights and all, it's not so simple—especially in light of the fast-approaching auction. Kelly told us today that there is a possibility that the family could still sell the facade if they wanted to, in spite of historical designation. It's not a sure thing: if the city designates the signs as historical soon enough, it is possible for the government to overrule the family—possible, not definite. But time is running out.

Here on Torontoist, if the signs do end up at auction, we've been tossing around the idea of mobilizing our readership and Torontonians as a whole to donate money and place a substantial bid on the sign on their behalf, but we'd rather it not have to come to that—instead, the best thing would be for the city to preserve the signs, intact, as-is, as they are now in the process of trying to do. What will happen next and how quickly it will happen is anyone's guess, but we'll try to keep you in the loop, especially if we get involved ourselves. At this point, it seems that the family's word will be the final one. We're hoping that they make the right decision.
 

Long Island Mike

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Save Those Sam's Signs!!!

Skeezix: Good to see the interest in saving the Sam's signs! Good links also! It turns out I am not alone in wanting to see them saved..and put to good use! LI MIKE
 

Observer Walt

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I sure hope the signs can be preserved, but a requirement to preserve them "as is, where is" could just end up being a dealbreaker. Such a requirement would severely restrict the potential to redevelop the site to a better use (Ryerson building?) The two buildings themselves are not excatly distinguished and I see very little merit in saving them. I would prefer to see the signs removed to suitable nearby sites. The Dundas Square as a site for one would be almost a no-brainer, I think.
 

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