The Church of Scientology is setting up shop in downtown Guelph.

Work has begun to prepare the space at 40 Baker Street – which housed a drop-in centre for the city’s homeless population until earlier this year – for the controversial church.

Rev. Yvette Shank, the president of the church’s Canadian office, says the site was chosen for its proximity to cities like Toronto and Cambridge.

“Guelph is a great place with all the amenities anyone would want,” she said in an email.

“We look forward to being a part of the city of Guelph and (doing) our share to help this community.”

According to Shank, the space will be used by the church as an administrative facility.

Downtown Guelph Business Association executive director Marty Williams says he would have preferred to see the space go to “something like a Mountain Equipment Co-op,’ but has no issue with the Church of Scientology being its new tenant.

“It’s better than having a vacant building,” he said in an interview.

“Scientology is a legal organization. They have the right to operate, and the landlord has the right to rent to them.”