Former Prairie Heights condo in Saskatoon hopes to open in the New Year

Click to play video: 'The Prairie Heights apartment building has had a total makeover in the year and now is on the verge of re-opening as Henley Place'
The Prairie Heights apartment building has had a total makeover in the year and now is on the verge of re-opening as Henley Place
WATCH: The old Prairie Heights apartment building has had lots of work done to it. Now as Henley Place is set to hopefully reopen in the new year after clearing some remaining hurdles – Dec 23, 2022

What was formerly known as the Prairie Heights condo in Saskatoon could see a revival as early as New Year’s Day.

Justin Westeringh, project manager for Westbow Group, the company that bought the building after it was shut down by the fire department in 2021, says they saw something in the building that they thought was redeemable.

Read more: Prairie Heights condo board issued $58K invoice by SFD for safety repairs

“State of the building when we took it over obviously was rough,” Westeringh said.

He noted that it wasn’t as bad as some people had led on.

“There was a lot of garbage in the building, however, the bones of the building were really strong.”

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Renovations for the building wrapped up on Oct. 1 and it was given a new name: Henley Place.

A look inside the newly renovated Henly Place. Global News/ Brady Ratzlaff

Westeringh said the building “deserves to act as a cornerstone for positive change in the area.”

He said they gated off the compound and added some additional security to the building.

Westeringh hopes if the last orders with the fire department get removed, he anticipates a Jan. 1-15 opening date.

Read more: Saskatoon Fire Department closes Prairie Heights condo building

Brian Conway, fire marshal for the Saskatoon Fire Department, said they were called out multiple times to the building in 2021 before they ultimately had to close it.

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“Life safety systems were not achieving their goal of protecting life, and also the state of the property was going to the point of living conditions were not being met as per the bylaw requirements.”

Conway wasn’t sure on a timeline as to when the building would get the green light from the fire department, noting there were several moving parts that needed to fall into place.

The building at 1416 20th St. W has a long history with fire crews and police.

Read more: Saskatoon judge appoints administrator to handle Prairie Heights condo affairs

In 2020, the fire department responded to the highrise 109 times and the police 403 times.

The fire department shut the building down in May 2021, saying they couldn’t allow people to live there until significant changes were made.

“Despite our efforts to ensure the building was safe, clean and not a fire hazard, we cannot get ahead of the constant vandalism, squatting, drug trade, risky and unhealthy behaviours,” read a statement from the fire department back in 2021.

Several agencies were brought in at the time to help those who were displaced by the shutdown find new living arrangements.

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— with files from David Giles

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