Monday, November 2, 2009

Snakes and Ladders

It wasn't much of a surprise to hear the Lake Placid crashed. While Saskatoon seemed immune from a global recession the rest of the world was exercising financial caution. And simply relisting the property won't solve the problem. Eventually, and I suspect sooner rather than later, the city will find no one willing to bid on the land. Its the problem with crown jewels - few can afford them.

Parking is essential to the success of the whole development - and even more expensive to construct on the riverbank. When well-skilled developers can't make a go of it, it is time to ask "why?" My best guess would be the zoning and stringent DCDs. Perhaps the city should be talking to its partners in the MVA.

It is time to ride the snake down to square one.


  1. One must wonder if Ellen R will now make a pitch to get this property at fire sale prices and a list of concessions that will be necessary to make this thing a go. If anyone can she has shown she has the knowledge to get it done right. It's either that or maybe we've just found a new home for the Riders.

  2. I hope Remai doesn't get it. I'd rather have it sit vacant than see the uninspiring architecture and designs they've done in the past.

    Having said that, I think the rules and regulations need to be relaxed. Let's throw it open and ask for any proposals and let's see what business proposes when the sky is the limit.

  3. I think the problem is not that "the sky is the limit" attitude is being held back by the stipulations. Rather, these stipulations are propping up some bare necessities for a project.

    Relatively, the private sector has contributed squat to downtown Saskatoon over the years:

    Sasktel Building - formerly Crown PCS headquarters
    Midtown Plaza CN Tower - built for a federal Crown Corp anchor tenant.
    Scotiacentre - One tower houses PCS, a former crown.
    Sturdy Stone - Built to house gov't
    Even the Bessborough was a gov't make work project.
    And most of the apartments that were built were done under heavy gov't incentives in the 70s.

    There are very few examples of private-sector mega-buildings (by Saskatoon standards) in our downtown.

    And today, look at how many gravel parking lots we have downtown. Nobody's jumping to build no matter how much we blabber on about "Saskaboom".

    In this "boom" the best that the private sector could put up was a three-story office building on Third. This is (or was) not a Calgary-like boom no matter how delusional we are in this city.

  4. Perhaps there would be a little more private investment if it weren't for the whimsical priorities of city council -- who can be held more than partly responsible for Cameco remaining out on 11th St west instead of being downtown.

    Given more consistency, the private sector would likely be investing in the downtown development more than they have already.

  5. Oh so all the high-rises in Regina are privately owned and have nothing to do with Crown Corps. Give it a break. One of the stumbling blocks for the private sector in Saskatoon for years is the height restriction, which makes it difficult for anyone to make a buck on 3 story buildings. That was a decision of Council. Lets take off the restrictions and see what happens. I don't want more of my tax dollar going into that property well unless its a new football stadium.

  6. Your post is confusing and devoid of consistency, Grizz.

    Indeed you are correct that Regina's skyline is a product of the fact it is the home of government, not private sector industry. Much like Saskatoon's. What's your point?

    And you should know that Saskatoon's downtown zoning laws allow about 27 stories in most of the central business district. There is only one building at that height - the Hallmark condo.

    The city isn't chopping off height restrictions at three stories, thus stumping private development... the point is that's all the private sector HAS built recently - that's still 24 stories below the max.

    I don't think you have a clue as to what you're talking about, except some free-wheelin' Yanke "open 'er up" attitude that is devoid of any knowledge of how our regulations shape downtown.

    Have you even read the Parcel Y proposal? Are you aware of the reasons for height restrictions? Do you know what our local restrictions are?

    Oh - And good luck squeezing a football stadium on that piece of land.


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