The Greene-Swift Building at 450 Talbot Street. Photo courtesy of Western University. The Greene-Swift Building at 450 Talbot Street. Photo courtesy of Western University.

Western University buys $7.3M downtown building

You'll soon be seeing more purple in downtown London.

Western University has announced it has purchased the historic Greene-Swift Building at 450 Talbot Street, near Queens Avenue. The university plans to use the 114-year-old building to enrich the city's arts and culture sector while establishing a new presence in the core. Western already has a presence in the core, with several continuing studies classrooms in CitiPlaza.

"We look forward to consulting both our internal stakeholders and local leaders to explore the potential of this space,” Western President Alan Shepard said in a statement. “Some proposed ideas include using the space for galleries and concerts, and a site where we could deliver courses, public lectures and poster sessions that share our research with the public.”

Western had been searching for a downtown property to meet its needs for the past three years. It landed on the Greene-Swift Building after reviewing "multiple properties." It's proximity to local restaurants, the Covent Garden Market, Budweiser Gardens, and the main downtown business district made it an ideal site for Western students, according to the university.

Named after the company that manufactured men’s and boys’ clothing and uniforms for the London Fire Department between 1907 and the 1930s, the Greene-Swift Building, was one of the first in the city to be constructed out of reinforced concrete. It was converted into office space in the 1950s and refaced in 1998. Since 1999 it has been home to London law firm Harrison Pensa. The law firm will be relocating elsewhere downtown in the spring.

Western is still working to finalize renovation plans.

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