Farmers’ Market could make a comeback to Riversdale

The City of Saskatoon doesn’t appear to be moving quickly but they are progressing with discussions to reopen a farmers’ market in its previous location.

The announcement came out publicly during this week’s City Council on Monday, August 30th despite negotiation in play since February 2020.

So who is the mystery tenant?

Best tenant is the tenant you already have

Ideas Inc. is an existing tenant in approximately 50 per cent of the city-owned property at 120 Sonnenschein Way, which most people still commonly refer to as the Farmers’ Market Building.

Ideas is a business hub for incubating entrepreneurs to get their feet wet.

They offer flexible co-workspace with a membership fee structure, in addition to business amenities as well as mentoring and resource opportunities within their network.

It would make absolute sense that this group of business-minded folks might have an idea for the reminder of the building.

They have been managing the successful outdoor Street Stall Saturdays for two years already.

Their new concept would provide for more of a food hall vibe, focusing on local food vendors in addition to more traditional farmers’ market vendors.

Unanswered questions

My lingering question is: does Saskatoon want or need a famers’ market six days a week?

I asked this back in November 2018 when discussion with the existing farmers’ market cooperative fell apart and the City put out a tender for bids.

The previous collective had operated in the building for 12 years.

That group was unable to meet the mandate of what the City referred to as “animating” the property with increased hours and days of operation.

I’m not sure anyone is asking for a market with increased hours, though.

The displaced farmers’ market moved to the north end and is open early mornings to mid afternoons on Saturday and Sunday only.

This particular group has been around since 1975 so I’m not too sure what the City knows that they wouldn’t regarding demand.

Remaining hurdles

There will be a number of items the City needs to address before they close the deal with Ideas to spark up the next inception of a cooperative market.

The building needs building code upgrades in addition to specific tenant improvements which the City estimates could be around $1.65 million.

Ideas, while interested in leasing and “animating” the space, has asked the City to cover all the expenses.

The new market would be open for the Fall of 2022, assuming all parties involved can move a little quicker on this next phase than they have so far!

Posted by Kelly Macsymic

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