Saskatoon city council granted the Third Avenue United Church municipal heritage property designation Monday, preventing demolition or excessive alteration.
The title applies to the building’s exterior, hammer-beam rafters and the Casavant organ.
Saskatoon Heritage Society president Peggy Sarjeant was “absolutely delighted” following the unanimous vote by city councillors.
“This is obviously a building which has struck a chord, within both administration, city council and the community,” Sarjeant said.
The Saskatchewan Heritage Property Review Board recommended council approve the designation in a report following a public hearing on the issue last month.
At a July hearing, a former owner of the church, John Orr, voiced his opposition to the designation, saying it would hinder potential development.
Orr showed multiple rendered images of his proposal to turn the church into a glass skyscraper.
He also said discussions about the heritage designation were premature.
“Stand back, consult with us and let’s find a solution instead of trying to ram this through without consulting with us,” Orr said during the hearing.
Under the Heritage Property Act, the church will be protected regardless of any changes in ownership.
“Once a property is designated, it is protected from demolition or unsympathetic alterations,” Lesley Anderson, the city’s director of planning and development, said in a news release.
Construction of the Third Avenue United Church began in 1911.