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Vacant Lot & Adaptive Reuse Strategy

Vacant Lot & Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program

Vacant Lot & Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program

The Vacant Lot & Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program is designed to encourage development on existing vacant or brownfield sites, and the reuse of vacant buildings in established areas of the city, including the City Centre, by providing financial and/or tax based incentives to owners of eligible properties.

Under the Vacant Lot & Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program, a Maximum Incentive Amount will be determined, equivalent to the increment between the existing property taxes (city portion) and the taxes paid upon completion, multiplied by five years.

The amount of the final incentive, or Earned Incentive Amount is determined through an evaluation system, based on points linked to policy objectives identified in the City's Official Community Plan. The points are used to determine what percentage of the total Maximum Incentive Amount may be available to the applicant. Under the Program, applicants are given a choice of a five-year incremental tax abatement, or a cash grant determined by the Earned Incentive Amount.

The evaluation system is based on points out of 100. For instance, a score of 60 points earns 60% payout (upon completion) of the Maximum Incentive Amount. See the Maximum Incentive Grant Amount Example below: 

  Grant/Tax Abatement Calculation
Tax Increment (City portion) $10,000 x 5 years
Maximum Incentive Amount x
Points (based on project evaluation)
$50,000 x 60/100
Incentive Amount $30,000
(paid on project completion)

To qualify under the incentive program, applicants will need to submit an application and a full development proposal prior to the beginning of construction (include as many details on the project as possible) for an existing vacant or brownfield site, or an adaptive reuse project that is within the area shown on the map below. Each application will be reviewed to ensure eligibility under the program. Applications for Tax Abatements are subject to the approval of City Council, and cash grants are subject to the approval of the General Manager, Community Services.

Vacant Lot Established Neighbourhoods Map


Vacant Lot Garden Incentive

The Vacant Lot Garden incentive has been designed to promote gardening as an interim use on vacant lots, promote urban agriculture as well as address the aesthetic and safety issues of vacant lots. The establishment of a garden on a vacant lot will not affect the opportunity for future incentives under the VLAR Program when the lot becomes developed.

To earn the incentive, applicants must convert a minimum of 50% or 100 m2 of a vacant lot, whichever is smaller, into a garden and maintain the site in a safe and orderly manner. All noxious weeds must be controlled, and the garden must not generate odour, dust, drainage impacts, or noise that may impact neighbouring properties or the right of way.

The incentive is an annual grant for the property owner equal to 50% of municipal land tax, for up to five years. A written agreement is required between the property owner and gardener(s) if they are not one and the same, to indicate that there is an arrangement in place to permit a garden to operate on the vacant lot.

Vacant Lot Inventory 

As part of the Vacant Lot & Adaptive Reuse Strategy, the City of Saskatoon maintains a comprehensive inventory of undeveloped land, which also includes surface parking lots. All lands that fall into these "undeveloped" categories are considered vacant. 

The inventory includes the following information about vacant sites:

  • Civic Address 
  • Site Area 
  • Neighbourhood 
  • Zoning Designation 
  • Legal Land Description

The inventory is limited only to established neighbourhoods (infill sites only), and excludes any sites that are considered to be undevelopable (e.g. walkways, right-of-ways, and other residual parcels). The inventory also excludes all ownership information. This is to ensure compliance with federal and provincial privacy legislation. 

The public Vacant Lot Inventory is regularly updated following the internal update of the property use information as part of the property assessment cycle.

Please note that the Vacant Lot Inventory comes with the following disclaimer:

The City of Saskatoon provides the Vacant Lot Inventory for reference only. It is not intended as a list of properties for sale or as a development opportunity. Using available records at the time, the sites are assumed to have no permanent structures on them and the site may or may not be available or suitable for re-development purposes.

Not all properties listed here have necessarily been vacant for the 48 consecutive months required to be eligible for the Vacant Lot and Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program.  While this inventory is provided as a reference for all vacant infill sites, properties that are actually eligible for incentives will vary.  Contact the Neighbourhood Planning Section to confirm how long a property has been vacant.

Brownfield Redevelopment

The redevelopment of brownfield sites result in numerous benefits to municipalities, citizens, and the developers who take on these projects. Increased tax revenue, improved environmental condition, economic opportunities, job creation, and revitalized neighbourhoods are just some of the benefits that are realized by brownfield development. However, brownfield redevelopment has its challenges including difficulty finding financing, liability concerns, regulatory requirements, and the perception and stigma association with potential contamination.

For the most up to date information and resources on the redevelopment of Brownfields in Saskatoon, please visit the City's Brownfield Renewal Strategy webpage. Projects that involve the redevelopment of Brownfield sites may be eligible for incenitves under the Vacant Lot and Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program.