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Province overturns city decision to block 112-unit condo development in downtown Saskatoon

An early rendering of the proposed 112-unit apartment tower Meridian Development is planning on Spadina Crescent. (Courtesy: City of Saskatoon) An early rendering of the proposed 112-unit apartment tower Meridian Development is planning on Spadina Crescent. (Courtesy: City of Saskatoon)

A provincial appeal board has overturned a city decision to block the development of a 112-unit apartment on former Knox United Church land.

Saskatoon’s Meridian Development is behind the project, which would see the construction of a condo tower on Spadina Crescent between Knox United Church and St. John’s Anglican Cathedral.

Meridian CEO Karl Miller told city council in 2021 the building was an opportunity to advance the city’s desire for more infill downtown. He said it would not diminish the heritage value of the adjacent church.

“This is simply about land and progress. A gravel parking lot does not belong on our riverbank,” said Miller.

Knox United stands to gain a new revenue stream in the development through ownership of parking spaces.

City council approved the subdivision of Knox United’s property in 2021, but the building permit itself was denied prior to that because the city said it didn’t meet zoning requirements, according to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board appeal committee report.

Meridian tried to appeal to Saskatoon’s development appeals board, but was rejected again, saying approving the project would “amount to a special privilege” and would be injurious to its neighbour St. John’s Cathedral, which opposed the project.

According to the report sent to Saskatoon’s municipal heritage committee, the province overturned that decision in December.

The 112-unit condo development can go ahead, as long as it meets certain conditions for the front-facing portions of the building.

Allowing some variances from the zoning requirements “would not give a special privilege to Meridian, would not defeat the intent of the bylaw; and would not negatively impact neighbouring properties,” the provincial committee said.

The municipal heritage advisory committee, which opposed the subdivision of the land, will receive the report at its meeting on Tuesday.

-With files from Matt Young Top Stories

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