Committee approves lease of new farmer’s market operator

The terms would see the building open six days a week, with an outdoor market twice a week from May to October.

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A proposed lease between the City of Saskatoon and the potential new operator of the Farmers’ Market Building at River Landing is presented to City Council.

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Monday’s unanimous vote by members of the council’s development committee was the final step before the city’s deal with Ideas, Inc. goes to a full council vote later this month.

Depesh Parmar, CEO of Ideas, told the committee that the company wanted to create “Saskatoon’s next masterpiece” at the site.

“We’re not going into this project to bank,” Parmar said, emphasizing his company’s status as a not-for-profit organization. Instead, he said the goal was to bring “vibe and liveliness” to the area around the city-owned building, located at the corner of Avenue A South and 19th Street West.

Parmar said the new local Gather Market will feature up to 30 Farmer’s Market vendors for two dedicated market days between May and October in the plaza outside the building.

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Inside, Parmar said 16 partitioned stalls will be available for local vendors, focusing on locally produced food and crafts. Eight local restaurants and six local craft brewers will also be featured. Gather will also include a fully licensed bar with local produce.

Under the proposed lease, Ideas would pay a nominal amount of $10 per year for five years and bear the costs of utilities, cleaning, security, snow removal, and garbage and recycling removal.

If approved, the city would defer a portion of Ideas’ property taxes, losing just over $50,000 in potential revenue over the course of the lease. Ideas would be on the hook for just over $30,000 a year in contributions to a municipal reserve for building maintenance, with payments deferred over the first two years, and the money to be recovered over the next three last years of the agreement.

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If council approves the lease, the city will also pay $150,000 for furniture costs in the common areas of the building; The ideas would cut costs in half, payable in installments over five years.

The lease would give Ideas the power to select suppliers. Parmar said the nonprofit has heard from many interested parties, but cannot reach formal agreements without a lease in place with the city.

He expected the new site to open in May 2023.

The city first issued a request for proposals seeking a new operator for the market in 2018. This process was canceled in 2019 when an inspection revealed the need for major repairs to the roof of the building. Negotiations on an agreement were finally launched in 2020, but canceled due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The city received $750,000 in federal grants in June to expand the renovation to include a new entrance vestibule and improvements to the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

If approved, the lease would also include a provision to extend the agreement for an additional five years, provided Ideas is able to meet the city’s goals for footfall and vendor participation. on the site.

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