The city releases cost estimates for locations in the downtown entertainment district

Saskatoon City Council will vote on the location of the proposed downtown entertainment district on Wednesday afternoon.

Location A is the parking lot north of Midtown, while Location B is the city yards parking lot next to the police station.

“Once that decision is made, we can actually begin developing some conceptual designs for the district that will help determine our budget,” said Dan Willems, director of technical services for the City of Saskatoon.

“Our funding plan work is in development. So ultimately our financing plan has to match our technical budget for what we want to build.”

A City of Saskatoon report, which included the results of a public engagement survey, listed the costs behind Site A that had not previously been disclosed to the public.

The purchase of the Midtown property would come at a price of $25 million, while neighboring properties would cost $17.3 million.

The city would also be on the hook to move the 526 parking lots and create new parking opportunities for Midtown, at a cost of approximately $25 million.

“Per our agreement with Midtown, we could not disclose contract terms until the agreement went to City Council for approval,” Willems said.

The city’s report, released in August, said the conditional agreement to purchase Site A would be submitted for city council approval at a November meeting and included terms for the relocation and installation of parking lots at an expected cost of over $10 million. dollars would contain.

“If we had intervened before the property was secured and exercised on-site options, we would be severely disadvantaged in the negotiations,” Willems said.

“Similarly, on some of the adjacent properties that we are pursuing, we have attempted to retain as much of the space as possible that we believe we may ultimately need, with the logic that we can dispose of it if we don’t need it later of these qualities.”

Willems says location B would be even more expensive.

“It’s not a vacancy. It is an active area of ​​our citizens’ initiatives. The roads and water and sewage crews all operate from these areas,” he said.

“Moving these is an extremely costly investment for the city and while it is ultimately a plan for us to move out of this area at some point, that investment is massive depending on how much area is being moved, ranging from 100 to 200 million plus. “

He says disclosing the dollar amounts to the public during the public participation process would not have changed the results because the goal was to consult the perceived opportunities and challenges of both locations, not choose between the two.

“We’ve seen a common theme around concerns about parking and traffic congestion and things like that,” Willems said.

“Not really surprising, obviously something we need to carefully consider when moving to the next steps in the design phases or conceptual design phases.”

Pending Wednesday’s council decision, Willems says there will be further decisions to confirm a funding strategy, including a possible renovation of TCU Place or a new convention center.

“There’s a lot of things that need to happen over the next year and beyond before we’re at a point where we’re ready to start detailed planning and construction of an arena,” he said.


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