Fanshawe College’s plan for further expansion into the downtown is getting positive reaction, and is raising hopes for an intersection that’s gained a negative reputation.

CTV London reported first last week that the college is in the final stages of negotiations to buy the Market Tower building from local developer Shmuel Farhi.

John Nash, the owner of nearby Nash Jewelers, says “The corner’s been a dismal corner for the last 20 years. So, with the college going on that side and the drug store going on this side, it offers a great opportunity for downtown London.”

The pharmacy Nash refers to is a Rexall that is planned for the northeast corner of Richmond and Dundas streets. The Market Tower sits on the southwest corner.

Fanshawe has already made a commitment to the downtown, with a Digital and Performing Arts Campus set to open in the fall.

That campus is on Dundas Street, just east of the intersection.

The two sites would form what is being called an academic cluster that has downtown city councillor Judy Bryant encouraged. 

According to Bryant “I think it will change perceptions overnight, which is fantastic because we need a really diverse group coming to that intersection and along those corridors. And I think this will really add to it. Because it won’t just be students, it will be the people who are working in the institution itself.”

It’s strategy that’s received high marks in other southern Ontario cities like Brantford, Kitchener and Windsor.

St. Clair College launched a downtown Windsor campus in 2007, and it now houses 4,000 students in three buildings. And the University of Windsor is planning to add 2,000 students and faculty as it develops its own downtown campus.

The new Fanshawe acquisition is expected to be complete by year's end.