Farmers’ Market Building at River Landing
As the current lease for the Farmers’ Market Building is set to expire in spring 2019 with the current tenant, a report went before City Council to endorse issuing a Request for Proposal this fall.
As a result, at the City Council meeting of September 25, 2018, City Council resolved that:
That the Administration be directed to prepare and issue a Request For Proposal to lease the Farmers’ Market Building within River Landing, seeking a proponent to develop and manage a six-day-a-week animated public facility and farmers’ market and revising the proposed scoring matrix in order to provide specific consideration for:
• Dedicated farmers’ market days
• More explicit evaluation of ‘authenticity’ with respect to local produce and content
The City had undertaken lease renewal negotiations with the current tenant of the building, the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market Co-operative Ltd. (SFMCL), which had submitted a business plan. Its plan anticipated providing an eventual increased number of days each week in which some market and program activities would occur, however, full animation of the site as originally envisioned would not be achieved.
The River Landing Concept Plan calls for a farmers’ market entity at this location.
The City has received unsolicited inquiries from other third parties expressing interest in the development and management of the Farmers’ Market Building in the manner anticipated by the Concept Plan and past lease agreements.
Administration will soon issue a Request for Proposals for the site this fall. The current Lease and Operating Agreement for the Farmers’ Market Building expires in May 2019.
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.
The City has had Lease and Operating Agreements with the Saskatoon Farmers' Market Cooperative Ltd. for the Farmer's 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 current arrangement is that other than on market days, the Farmers’ Market Building has 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 is responsible for payment of all operating costs, utilities, and property taxes for the Farmers’ Market Building. As an aspect of the rent, the Farmers’ Market is also responsible for the maintenance reserve contribution that is required for all civic buildings (being 1.2 per cent of the new replacement value of the Farmers' Market building).
Site Use / Animation
The current lease outlined the Hours of Operation - The SFMCL committed to ensure the premise was operating at least between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Tuesday to Friday; Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wherever possible, the SFMCL would provide additional hours during weekdays, particularly during the summer months.
Animation of the Site - The SFMCL committed to ensuring the building was being utilized at or near capacity. Since 2010, the SFMCL has diversified and is an event rental facility, hosts special events, and operates a licensed commercial kitchen for rental and demonstrations. The SFMCL has several permanent subtenants, which have fixed food service booths within the Farmers’ Market building. As well, the SFMCL continues to use, on a seasonal basis, the Market Square.