A 10,000 square foot building in downtown Toronto will soon be transformed into a new community activism and creative space operated by Black Lives Matter.

The organization, which was borne as a largely grass roots movement, has announced plans to purchase the property at 24 Cecil Street for use as a community hub.

The Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism will replace a much smaller rented space that Black Lives Matter had operated out of a building on Geary Avenue for the past year-and-a-half.

Organizers with Black Lives Matter say that the news space at 24 Cecil Street will include meeting rooms, a community kitchen, a recording studio, a dance studio and will also host a range of programming.

“When the first ideas of having a Black Lives Matter Canada as a presence here began in 2014 we already had the idea that we wanted to build a community center for Black communities because there is such a need for Black space here in Toronto,” Black Lives Matter Canada co-founder Syrus Marcus Ware told CP24 on Thursday morning. “There isn't places for people to meet, there aren’t places for people to gather and we needed something like this.”

Ware said that the new community hub is located in an area that has already been “a hotbed of Black activism” due, in part, to its proximity to the historically Black Grange neighbourhood as well as being “down the street” from a building where Black activist Marcus Garvey had his Toronto office.

He said that he envisions the new community space as a sort of central hub that will provide a space for “dancers and artists to come together and practice” while also helping to foster community-based activism.

“We need people to learn about Black history, Black artists, Black activism and the ways that Black people have already made an indelible mark in shaping a Toronto's history and Toronto's community,” he said. “The Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism will be a space that we'll be able to do just that. We're going to have archive space, we'll have space where people can come together and learn about Black organizing, learn about Black history and learn about Black community through our programming and events. We're really looking forward to making plans for Black artists and Black community members to come together to learn from each other, teach one another and gather together to build something new.”

It is not entirely clear how the purchase of the building is being funded, though Coun. Mike Layton is expected to move a motion at a council meeting next week to have the city contribute $250,000 to help fund the project.

In an interview with CP24 on Thursday afternoon, Layton acknowledged that the investment is “by no means a major stake” towards the purchase of the building but will hopefully help support some of the work that goes on inside it.

“I think it's important for the city to recognize that if we're going to start addressing anti-Black racism as we've outlined in city documents and strategies we do need to start ensuring that community organizations have the necessary infrastructure available to empower themselves and to be able to train and celebrate and do all the things they need to do advance the cause,” he said. “I think that this is an enormously powerful statement for the City of Toronto to make, that we are with you, that we are supporting this and we are fulfilling the commitments we have already made.”

Layton says that if approved by city council, the $250,000 investment will come from Section 37 charges that have been passed on to developers in the area.

A real estate listing for 24 Cecil Street lists the asking price for the building as $8.2 million.