The proposed development of Saskatoon’s downtown city yards is being met with approval by at least one city councillor.
Arbutus Properties is pitching to buy the 22-acre property in order to build an apartment-condo complex with retail space and a full-sized grocery store.
Ward 1 Councillor Darren Hill, who represents the area, is excited by the possibilities.
“The entire project is appealing to me,” he said.
“The proposed increased density might be the catalyst to seeing a downtown grocery store actually come to fruition.”
Saskatoon’s core residents have been without a grocery store since Good Food Junction Co-Op closed its doors in 2016.
A study released in August 2017 by the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Agency (SREDA) concluded downtown needed a higher population before a grocery store could see success.
However, Hill noted Arbutus Properties has had success bringing neighbourhood-focused grocery stores to their developments in British Columbia.
He said those stores have a different business model than most major retailers.
“Those large grocers changed their business model into developing one very large footprint store and making everyone drive to that store,” he said.
“The downtown wasn’t economically viable for that model.”
Hill said he’s already hearing from residents who are happy about the idea of a downtown grocer setting up shop.
The 11-year veteran of council also pointed out the Arbutus proposal would fit the city’s north downtown master plan and could lead to more development in Saskatoon’s core.
“I believe it could actually be the catalyst that would then see all the rest of the downtown infill happen,” he said.
Monday’s planning, development and community services meeting starts at 9 a.m. in council chambers.