Saskatchewan Examiner

The proposed grocery store in downtown Saskatoon has cleared the first hurdle

The first hurdle for the proposed downtown Saskatoon grocery store has been overcome.

Key Takeaways:

  • Arbutus Properties’ development plan for a Pitchfork Market + Kitchen store in the Midtown Plaza was unanimously approved by the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation.
  • In her closing remarks, Cynthia Block reminded the committee that Saskatoon’s downtown impacts the surrounding communities and the inner core.

On Monday, a step toward bringing a grocery store to downtown Saskatoon was taken.

The Standing Policy Committee on Transportation unanimously approved Arbutus Properties’ development plan for a Pitchfork Market + Kitchen store in the Midtown Plaza.

Ward 5 Councillor Randy Donauer praised the planned development as a welcome solution to a long-standing problem in downtown Saskatoon.

“The issue we’ve had is a chicken-and-egg problem. “It’s difficult to put more density in downtown Saskatoon until you get a grocery store,” he said. “And it’s difficult to invest to open a grocery store until there’s more density in downtown Saskatoon.” As a result, that argument will be pushed to the side.”

Also read: The Saskatoon SPCA may have a new contract with the city to address ‘financial strain’

Arbutus president Jeff Drexel’s belief, according to Murray Totland, a former City of Saskatoon manager as well as the current director of planning for Arbutus, is what drives the developer’s desire to build a grocery store where many others have fled.

Totland said, “It does harken back to the old era of the neighborhood grocery store.” “We build communities, and a grocery store is one of any community’s most important features and requirements.” So we thought, maybe there’s an opportunity for us to help bring grocery stores to the communities where we’re involved as a land developer.”

Totland went on to say that the idea of a downtown grocery store becomes even more appealing when it includes a restaurant, which Arbutus’ proposal does.

Ward 6 Coun. Cynthia Block reminded the committee in her closing remarks that Saskatoon’s downtown affects the surrounding communities as well as the inner core.

She explained, “It’s for Dundurn, Henley, Kenaston, Davidson, Rosetown, and Kindersley.” “People arrive from all over the province to Saskatoon for various reasons. And, hopefully, groceries will be another.”

The first hurdle for the proposed downtown Saskatoon grocery store has been overcome.
The first hurdle for the proposed downtown Saskatoon grocery store has been overcome. Image from The Atlantic

The store was supposed to be in the space that was supposed to be occupied by Mountain Equipment Co-op before it was sold to an American investment firm last year.

The committee approved a city administration recommendation to determine how much of the store should be built before the city will create significant improvements at the Idylwyld Drive and also Auditorium Drive intersection to accommodate the increased traffic Arbutus anticipates.

The suggested intersection improvements are expected to cost $220,000 to build.

Arbutus had requested a tax abatement from the city for the space in Midtown Plaza but had withdrawn the request after learning that the downtown mall had already received one.

Before any construction or lease agreements can be formalized, Council must approve the administration’s recommendation at a future meeting.

Source: CTV News

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