Desautels expanding into Bookstore space

Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Faculty of Management expects to move into the the building currently occupied by the McGill Bookstore sometime in 2016. / Photo: Neale McDevitt

The Faculty of Management expects to move into the the building currently occupied by the McGill Bookstore sometime in 2016. / Photo: Neale McDevitt

By McGill Reporter Staff

The Desautels Faculty of Management will take over the adjacent McGill Bookstore at 3420 McTavish St. sometime in 2016, providing a new home for the Faculty’s MBA programs, which will be moved out of the overcrowded Bronfman Building.

Principal Suzanne Fortier announced the news at the Faculty’s Homecoming event last month.

“This will provide us with an additional 22,000 net square feet and will liberate much needed space in the Bronfman Building,” said Interim Dean of Management Morty Yalovsky in a message to the Faculty. “The details of all the reallocations and redesigns will be finalized in the coming months as we complete comprehensive internal consultations with student, professor, staff and program representatives.

“In parallel, the University is conducting an extensive review of the Bookstore business and will be recommending, by early 2015, a new location and business model for the Bookstore designed to best meet the needs of McGill students.”

Where will the Bookstore go? No one knows yet. A retail consultant has been engaged to study the Bookstore’s needs and operations for the future. And its new space is likely to be smaller. Bookstore Manager Jason Kack said the store does not need the 30,000 square feet (including storage and offices) it now occupies for a variety of reasons.

More and more Bookstore business is being conducted online. Website sales have zoomed from about zero three years ago to more than $250,000, nearly three-quarters of that business being in textbook sales.

“Other universities are being looked at for the way in which they are adapting to the changing needs of university bookstore clientele,” Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) Michael Di Grappa told the McGill Daily in an email. “What is clear is that the Bookstore does not need all the space it is presently occupying and that the Desautels Faculty of Management, with 2,500 students occupying a building designed for 1,500, needs more space, preferably adjoining space, which the Bookstore provides.”

Yalovsky said the Faculty of Management expects to move into the new property sometime in 2016. “Costs of the internal and external renovations to the new property are currently estimated at around $15 million,” he said. “Much of the new building will most likely be redesigned for, and allocated to, our MBA program, opening-up some much needed space in our current building for our BCom program, and others. We want to capitalize on this fantastic opportunity to ensure it benefits all our students, professors and programs.”

The funds for the project will come largely from philanthropy. Marcel Desautels, for whom the Faculty is named, has already kicked in an additional gift and has rearranged some of his earlier donations to give the fundraising drive a major boost.

“Desautels has been looking to expand for at least the last four years and a number of options about how to solve their space crunch have been considered during that time,” Di Grappa told The Daily. “We actually began to consider the Bookstore option about four months ago.”


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