Saskatoon still exploring sites for potential downtown arena

SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon. City of Saskatoon officials said they are not yet prepared to release details of any potential sites for a downtown arena as they continue to negotiate with landowners. Tyler Schroeder / Global News

The City of Saskatoon says it needs more time to explore possible sites for a new downtown arena and entertainment district.

Officials said one reason required for the additional time is the need to negotiate with the owners of potential sites along with assessing whether any city-owned property could be a feasible location.

“As one of the most significant projects the city is likely to undertake in the next decade, we are investing significant efforts to ensure pre-planning and site analysis is thoroughly completed,” Dan Willems, the city’s director of technical services, said Wednesday.

“This file is extremely active and we are currently working with landowners and key stakeholders.”

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Officials said they are not yet prepared to release details of any potential sites as they continue to negotiate with landowners and reach “an agreeable outcome for all parties.”

Administration said preferred site options will be reported back to city council before being made public.

“The public will be able to provide input on all sites that were considered reasonable options before council is asked to formally approve a preferred location for a future event and entertainment district,” Willems said.

Click to play video: 'Architect tweets 6 places he thinks would suit new Saskatoon arena'
Architect tweets 6 places he thinks would suit new Saskatoon arena

A local architect recently tweeted six sites in the downtown core he believes are suitable for a new arena and convention centre.

Administration said a report heading to city council on Jan. 27 will provide councillors with an update on the site selection process.

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Two external advisory firms with experience in the development of arenas, convention centres and entertainment districts have been retained by the city.

Officials said they will provide insight into site design, access and technical considerations “that will influence the feasibility of potential sites.”

City administration said it will also be researching best practices and reviewing the experiences other cities had in developing downtown event entertainment districts.

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