REAL seeking 40-year lease extension; city council to look over YQR Distillery proposal

A rendered image of the commons event space planned for the new YQR Distillery facility. Photo: Regina Exhibition Association Limited, YQR Distillery

Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) is wanting to sign a 40-year lease agreement with the city of Regina to remain as the operator of the Evraz Place grounds.

The item was brought forward to executive committee on Wednesday morning at city hall where REAL President and CEO Tim Reid presented a delegation with other members of the association.

Reid told reporters that they had four-year lease renewal set with the city since 2015, however, he believes the right direction moving forward is for the 40-year agreement with two twenty-year extensions.

“Obviously, the city is still the owner and they can step in whenever they want, but this helps us with long-term subleases, long-term clients and our commercial ventures,” Reid explained. “We’re just looking for a longer term partnership.”

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Reid went further in saying this opportunity could persuade potential partners interested in investing at Evraz Place to have confidence that they will still be dealing with REAL rather than uncertainty.

He feels it’s more important than ever at this time to encourage long-term deal structures instead of short-term thinking.

“What we have heard consistently from every private investor is they need a 40-year deal term and they would like assurance that the Regina Exhibition Association will be able to maintain the rights to that contract,” added Reid.

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“From a private investment standpoint, they are looking for long-term consistency in who they partner with.”

City council will discuss the recommendation at their next meeting on Aug. 11.

YQR Distillery proposal

Photo: Regina Exhibition Association Limited, YQR Distillery. Photo: Regina Exhibition Association Limited, YQR Distillery

Also up for debate at the August 11 meeting is the proposed project for a brewing, distilling, restaurant facility in the Agribition Building at Evraz Place.

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The initial announcement came on June 23 when REAL announced YQR Distillery, formerly known as Sperling Silver Distillery, as the new tenant with a 40-year lease agreement. Once the initial agreement is complete, there will be the opportunity to sign two 20-year extensions.

Reid suggested this is a partnership which gives the building a lot of future life.

“I think there’s a great opportunity to make our hospitality stronger than ever, and most importantly, I think it gives us a great new asset on our campus,” said Reid.

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“Now you can go and have a meal or have a cold beverage in a really interesting environment on any day of the week.”

The new facility of 40,000 square feet will include a distillery and brewery with a restaurant, tasting room, distillery bar and a teaching kitchen among other amenities.

“This brings local development onto our campus,” he said. “Even though we have a locally-owned, but global company in McDonald’s on our campus, this is actually a made-in-Regina property. That’s what is so exciting about it.”

YQR Distillery shared in a release that construction will start this summer with an open date set in the spring of 2022. The new operation will employ 100 to 150 people.


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