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Farmers’ Market Building at River Landing

Background

  • City Council has a vision to expand the use and appeal of the Farmers’ Market Building; the direction the City is pursuing is to fully utilize this community asset and animate the facility for six or more days a week including a farmers’ market component.  
  • The Farmers' Market Building is a City owned asset within River Landing. The River Landing Concept Plan calls for a farmers' market component at the site, along with other animation features to make this area a year round destination.

2019 Request for Proposal for the Lease of the Farmers’ Market Building

  • The lease with the previous tenant expired on December 31, 2019.
  • City Council directed the Administration to find a tenant who will fully utilize this community asset and animate the facility for six or more days a week, including a minimum of 2 days dedicated to a farmers’ market component with a focus on local produce and content.
  • A Request for Proposal (RFP) was released on November 8, 2019 and closed on December 31, 2019. Submissions will be evaluated by a team of City staff from Departments relevant to the project.  The proposals will be evaluated based on how closely they achieve the criteria outlined in the RFP. 
  • The overall RFP process has been overseen by an external Fairness Monitor. 
  • The City expects to present a report to City Council for information about the lease and the building. It is anticipated this will occur in March, 2020.

Farmers’ Market Building Roof Repairs

  • In February 2019, it was discovered that significant repairs were needed to the roof of the Farmers’ Market Building. 
  •  Through a separate RFP process, the City hired an expert to determine the best type of roof system to be installed on the Farmers’ Market Building.  The expert prepared a tender package to hire a roofing contractor to repair the roof. This RFQ/Tender Package was released on SaskTenders on February 12, 2020 and will close on February 27, 2020. The roof repairs are expected to take approximately two months to complete.  
  • The work will require a full closure of the building, but will not affect the potential of an outdoor farmers’ market in 2020 in Market Square.

Frequently Asked Questions​

How many Proposals were received as part of the 2019 RFP for the Lease of the Farmers’ Market Building?

The City is in the Evaluation Stage of the RFP and the results will become public knowledge upon Contract award.

When will the future tenant be offered the lease?

The RFP closed on December 31, 2019.  Once the City evaluates the submissions, a report will be presented to City Council for information about the lease and the building.  It is anticipated this will occur in March, 2020.

Will there be a farmers’ market at the site in 2020?

The RFP requires any future tenant to operate an outdoor farmers’ market beginning in the spring 2020 as a condition of the lease. The interior animation in 2020 depends on the future tenant’s renovation plans for the building.

Is the future arena going to be located at this site?

There are two vacant parcels of land in the vicinity of the Farmers’ Market Building (currently temporary parking lots).  Since the City owns the parcels, they are being evaluated as a potential site for a new arena and/or convention centre as part of the Downtown Entertainment District.  There are also a number of other sites around the Downtown that are being evaluated as potential sites.  It is expected that the preferred arena location be presented to City Council in 2020, however future construction is some years away.

Will the City rent the Farmers’ Market Building prior to selecting a new tenant?

The City has not chosen a new tenant for the building, so until that time, we cannot rent out the building as we do not know what their plans for it might be.

The Farmers’ Market Building was the headquarters (as it is every year) for the Nutrien Wintershines Festival, which ran January 25 - February 2.  The building is now temporarily closed as the City is undertaking interior repairs and demolition work to prepare for the roof repairs that will begin this spring.

Market Square (the public square to the east of the building), is a bookable space by the general public, but again, since the City has not chosen a new tenant yet, we cannot book the space as the new tenant would get first right of refusal on Market Square.  You can certainly submit an application form for Market Square, and it will go on a waiting list.

The Farmers’ Market Building Update Report on the Monday, September 30, 2019 City Council Agenda - Regular Business Meeting can be found here.
 
History of the Farmers' Market Building

The River Landing Phase II redevelopment project was designed to enhance the sustainability of downtown by reclaiming and developing the A.L. Cole "brownfield" and surrounding area - literally the front yard of Saskatoon’s downtown and one of the main entries to core neighbourhoods.

After extensive review and public consultation, the South Downtown Concept Plan was approved by City Council in 2004. The Concept Plan is the cornerstone and framework for development for River Landing.

The redevelopment included the reclamation and conversion of an old City-owned electrical building into a farmers’ market, business centre (incubator), and village square.

Lease Negotiations

The City had Lease and Operating Agreements with the Saskatoon Farmers' Market Cooperative Ltd. (SFMCL) for the Farmers’ Market Building since April 2007.

As part of lease negotiations, City Administration met with representatives from the SFMCL on several occasions to discuss animation, usage of the space, future vision, and to ask for a business plan from SFMCL outlining their proposed approach to increase animation and activity for the next lease before reporting to Committee.

The concern with the arrangement was that other than on market days, the Farmers’ Market Building had not achieved the animation that was expected by this point in time in the previous lease and the original concept plan for the space.

The annual rent for the Farmers’ Market Building is $10.00; SFMCL was responsible for payment of all operating costs, utilities, and property taxes for the Farmers’ Market Building.  As an aspect of the rent, the SFMCL was also responsible for the maintenance reserve contribution required for all civic buildings (being 1.2 per cent of the new replacement value of the Farmers' Market building).