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Farmers’ Market Building at River Landing

Farmers' Market Building Request for Proposals (November 2019)

The City issued an RFP (Request for Proposals) on November 8 for the lease of the Farmers' Market Building. The RFP closes on December 31. Interested parties can visit the SaskTenders website for more information.

FARMERS' MARKET BUILDING - FAQ

Background

The Farmers' Market Building is a City owned asset within River Landing. The River Landing Concept Plan calls for a farmers' market component at the site, along with other animation features to make this area a year round destination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the City issuing a Request for Proposals to Lease the Farmers’ Market Building?

  • The Farmers’ Market Building is not exclusive to one group. The lease with the current tenant expires on December 31, 2019. City Council has directed the Administration to find a tenant who will fully utilize this community asset and animate the facility for six or more days a week, including a minimum of 2 days farmers’ market component with a focus on local produce and content. The process involved is what’s referred to as a Request for Proposals (RFP).​

How much is the current lease of the Farmers’ Market Building?

  • The lease for the Farmers’ Market Building is subsidized by the City of Saskatoon.  The current lease rate is $10/year, plus a contribution to the City’s Civic Buildings Comprehensive Maintenance (CBCM) Reserve (approximately $27,000) to help with any capital repairs to the building, and property tax (approximately $15,000). 

Has the City tried to work with the current tenant?

  • Yes. The City met with representatives from the current tenant group on several occasions over the past two plus years to discuss animation, usage of the space, a future vision, and to request a business plan outlining their proposed approach to increase animation and activity for the next lease, in order to fully meet the expectations of animating the facility for 6 days a week. In July, 2019, the current tenant formally communicated to the City, that they were looking to focus on their core mandate of operating authentic farmers' markets for only two or three days a week.​

Can the current tenant submit a proposal on the RFP?

  • All interested groups, including the current tenant, can submit a proposal.  All proposals will be evaluated through a fair and competitive process.  Interested parties can visit the SaskTenders website for more information.

When will the roof be repaired?

  • In February 2019, it was discovered that significant repairs were needed to the roof of the Farmers’ Market Building.  Through a separate RFP process, the City hired an expert to determine the best type of roof system to be installed on the Farmers’ Market Building.  The expert will prepare a tender package to repair the roof in early 2020.  The work will require a full closure of the building, but will not affect the potential of an outdoor farmers’ market in 2020 in the Market Square.

Will there be a farmers’ market at the site in 2020?

  • The RFP requires the future tenant to operate an outdoor farmers’ market beginning in the spring 2020 as a condition of the lease. The City has been approached by potential farmers’ markets, and vendors expressing interest in running out of the Farmers’ Market Building and operating an animated public facility for a minimum of six days-a-week with a minimum 2 days of a farmers’ market component.​

When will the future tenant be offered the lease?

  • The RFP closes on December 31, 2019.  The submissions will be evaluated by a team of City staff from Departments relevant to the project.  The proposals will be evaluated based on how closely they achieve the criteria outlined in the RFP.  The City will negotiate a lease with the top ranking proponent.  A report will be presented to City Council for information once a lease has been agreed to.  It is anticipated this will occur in March, 2020.

Is the future arena going to be located at this site?

  • There are two vacant parcels of land in the vicinity of the Farmers’ Market Building (currently temporary parking lots).  Since the City owns the parcels, they are being evaluated as a potential site for a new arena and/or convention centre as part of the Downtown Entertainment District.  There are also a number of other sites around the Downtown that are being evaluated as potential sites.  As this project is in its preliminary stages, a decision and any potential future construction is some years away.  This RFP for the building will continue and the lease will be offered to the top ranking proposal.​
The Farmers’ Market Building Update Report on the Monday, September 30, 2019 City Council Agenda - Regular Business Meeting can be found here.
 
 
   
Farmers' Market Building Facts and Key Points

FARMERS' MARKET BUILDING FACTS & KEY POINTS

  • City Council has a vision to expand the use and appeal of the Farmers’ Market Building; the direction the City is pursuing is to fully utilize this community asset and animate the facility for six or more days a week including a farmers’ market component.  
  • The River Landing Concept Plan calls for a farmers’ market component at this location.  The building is not exclusive to one group in particular.
  • The current lease for the Farmers’ Market Building is $10/year, plus a contribution to the City’s Civic Buildings Comprehensive Maintenance (CBCM) Reserve to help with any capital repairs to the building. 
  • Because the lease with the current tenant was expiring, City Council last autumn directed the Administration to find a group that would be able to manage to the fullest extent, a six-day-a-week market with a focus on authentic local produce and content. That process involved what’s called a Request for Proposals (RFP).
  • The current tenant did not meet the conditions of the existing 2014 lease (six-day-a-week animation) as per City Council expectations, which led to the issuance of the RFP in October, 2018.
  • In February, 2019, the RFP was cancelled due to the need for significant repairs to the roof of the Farmers’ Market Building. This deficiency was discovered after the RFP was issued.
  • The current tenant has not been evicted as has been shared in the community. In fact, the City extended the lease of the current tenant through the 2019 growing season from May 31 until December 31, 2019.
  • The City issued a RFP for an expert to advise the best type of roof system to be installed on the Farmers’ Market building which will require a full closure of the building.
  • The work should not affect the potential of an outdoor farmers’ market in 2020 in Market Square.
  • The Administration has been approached by potential farmers’ markets, and potential vendors expressing interest in running out of the Farmers’ Market Building and operating an animated public facility for a minimum of six days-a-week with a farmers’ market component.

History of the Farmers' Market Building

The River Landing Phase II redevelopment project was designed to enhance the sustainability of downtown by reclaiming and developing the A.L. Cole "brownfield" and surrounding area - literally the front yard of Saskatoon’s downtown and one of the main entries to core neighbourhoods.

After extensive review and public consultation, the South Downtown Concept Plan was approved by City Council in 2004. The Concept Plan is the cornerstone and framework for development for River Landing.

The redevelopment included the reclamation and conversion of an old City-owned electrical building into a farmers’ market, business centre (incubator), and village square.

Lease Negotiations

The City has had Lease and Operating Agreements with the Saskatoon Farmers' Market Cooperative Ltd. (SFMCL) for the Farmer's Market Building since April 2007.

As part of lease negotiations, City Administration met with representatives from the SFMCL on several occasions to discuss animation, usage of the space, future vision, and to ask for a business plan from SFMCL outlining their proposed approach to increase animation and activity for the next lease before reporting to Committee.

The concern with the current arrangement is that other than on market days, the Farmers’ Market Building has not achieved the animation that was expected by this point in time in the previous lease and the original concept plan for the space.

The annual rent for the Farmers’ Market Building is $10.00; SFMCL is responsible for payment of all operating costs, utilities, and property taxes for the Farmers’ Market Building.  As an aspect of the rent, the Farmers’ Market is also responsible for the maintenance reserve contribution that is required for all civic buildings (being 1.2 per cent of the new replacement value of the Farmers' Market building). 

See Highlights of Previous Lease Terms with the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market Co-operative Limited 

Site Use / Animation

The current lease outlined the Hours of Operation - The SFMCL committed to ensure the premise was operating at least between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Tuesday to Friday; Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Wherever possible, the SFMCL would provide additional hours during weekdays, particularly during the summer months.

Animation of the Site - The SFMCL committed to ensuring the building was being utilized at or near capacity.  Since 2010, the SFMCL has diversified and is an event rental facility, hosts special events, and operates a licensed commercial kitchen for rental and demonstrations.  The SFMCL has several permanent subtenants, which have fixed food service booths within the Farmers’ Market building. As well, the SFMCL continues to use, on a seasonal basis, the Market Square.