SASKATOON -- The farmers market building at River Landing is one step closer to having a new tenant now that repairs to the building are nearly complete.

The building once home to the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market was closed in late 2019 to repair the aging building.

The main repairs were completed in February and finishing touches are being done.

Lesley Anderson, director of planning and development with the City of Saskatoon, said the city is in negotiations with one preferred group to fill the space but cannot say who it is yet.

“We’re looking at a group that will operate the farmers‘ market in a way that aligns with what City Council has asked for in that building which includes six day a week animation, a farmers market component with fresh produce and a number of other aspects,” Anderson told CTV News.

She also says there’s no specific time frame on when a new tenant would take over the inside space but they are hoping to get it up and running as soon as possible.

“We’re really excited to conclude negotiations and move forward, as soon as possible, but understanding that everybody is under different pressure with the reality of COVID,” she said.

The six day a week requirement was one of the reasons the former tenant, the Saskatoon Farmers‘ Market group, vacated the location.

They are now operating in the airport industrial area on Koyl Avenue. That location was thought to be a disappointment to some in the city who criticized it for being inaccessible by bike or walking.

Anderson could not say if the new tenants would be set up in time for this spring market season, but said having the street stall and community farmers’ market back for a second season in the outdoor street area will help create activity - which is one of the main goals.

The Street Stall Saturday and Community Farmers’ Market groups will be back, selling their wares starting May 1 on the street area adjacent to the building on the south side.

Wanetta Dunlop is on the board of directors for the Community Farmer’s Market and said they are not the group being considered to move indoors.

Their organization operates markets starting in May at five locations throughout the city, one of which started at River Landing last year.

Dunlop says they are looking to have up to 40 vendors when they start up at River Landing.