This Saskatoon office vacancy graph illustrates it well.
We see the relative similarity between downtown and suburban office vacancy trends for the 12 years between 2008 and 2020; then, suddenly, in 2020, the divide begins to swell.
We currently have over a 10 per cent vacancy spread between the two submarkets.
There has been a looming need for change, to provide a safe Saskatoon city centre.
The Lighthouse, which provides support to Saskatoon’s homeless and mentally ill, is vital to our community but it can’t come at the expense of our vibrant Downtown as a whole.
Prior to the global pandemic, Saskatoon’s Downtown businesses were already feeling the impact of reduced foot traffic due to safety concerns of the Lighthouse.
Now, the reported national statistics for tenant relief requests from the retail sector mirror close to what we’ve seen in Saskatoon.
As a result of economy shutting down to Covid-19, on average, 70 per cent of requests have come from retail tenants; only 30 per cent have come from the office and industrial sectors.
A game plan to invigorate our downtown retail business before it’s too late is urgent.
It’s time for the City, local businesses, and the Lighthouse to examine a Plan B if we hope to save this core neighbourhood.