Midtown Plaza plans $80M renovation for Sears space, requests tax abatement

CTV Saskatoon

Published Wednesday, June 13, 2018 7:40PM CST

Last Updated Wednesday, June 13, 2018 7:45PM CST

Managers at Midtown Plaza in Saskatoon’s downtown are hoping a tax abatement will help the mall cover the costs of a more than $80-million renovation plan for the former Sears space.

The mall’s request for the tax abatement passed through a city committee Wednesday and now only needs to be approved by city council.

“This isn’t about, you know, an ask to have taxes reduced. The plaza will still be paying millions of dollars in taxes every year at the same level — probably even a little more,” Ward 2 councillor Hilary Gough said. “It’s really just the added taxation that would be the value of the development that would be abated for five years.”

The proposed renovations include plans to gut the old space and remove walls, fixtures and floors.

Mall officials are still tight-lipped about what stores will occupy the space, but two “flagship” tenants will move in and the food court will be moved to the second floor.

More street-facing stores and additional parking on the sides of the space facing 20th Street and Idylwyld Drive are also included in the plans.

“One of the really exciting things about this project is they’re looking to kind of turn around and see what they can do to make the spaces facing both 20th Street and Idylwyld Drive more attractive to pedestrians and folks in the area,” Gough said.

The plans are fully supported by downtown businesses, according to Brent Penner, executive director for Downtown Saskatoon.

“It’s incredibly important and it’s very great to see the level of confidence that Midtown has in making a very sizeable investment in our community,” he said.

Gough said she believes council will also approve the mall’s request for a tax abatement.

“It’s a project that aligns well with a lot of the other work that we’re doing and is a pretty anchor tenant in the downtown, and so I think committee saw the value in that investment and I think council will probably see the same.”

City council’s next meeting is June 25.

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