Tuesday, October 10, 2006

‘Don Atchison says “NO” to giving city grants to fund private development.’ – Mayoral Candidate Don Atchison 2003 campaign flyer

“One of the big concerns is that people are afraid we’re going to subsidize whatever the development is (on the spa hotel site). My belief is that the private sector needs to pay for it and the only way you can do that is to have high density.”
(Mayor Don Atchison StarPhoenix July 31, 2004)

‘Atchison says council is determined to get south downtown commercial development going without having to offer up tax concessions or subsidies. “I don't foresee that at all. I see this as an economically viable piece of property that should be standing on its own,” he said. “That's the reason we're seeking investors outside the city.”’
(Mayor Don Atchison StarPhoenix August 17, 2004)

“I haven’t heard anything different that council wants to subsidize anyone on that particular location at all and I think I can speak for Council saying that everyone believes that it’s a for profit group that’s going to be building there and they’ll be supplying their own funding.”
(Mayor Don Atchison, Saskatoon City Council meeting November 29, 2004)

As it turned no investors outside Saskatoon were interested. The City received only four Expressions of Interest from local developers, two of which were later short-listed to proceed to the Request for Proposal stage: VPMI Hotel Group and Remai Ventures Inc.

VPMI pulled out of the running at the last minute citing a lack of faith by major lenders in the viability of a downtown mineral spa hotel. This left the City with one proposal at the RFP deadline to choose from – Remai Ventures.

On December 12, 2005, Saskatoon city council approved a deal that will see Remai receive $3.1 million in tax incentives from the city over the course of the spa hotel’s construction and its first four years of operation. The deal didn’t end there.

“We have to get full value for that land (the Gathercole site).”

(Mayor Don Atchison StarPhoenix May 4, 2005)

The City’s appraised value of the 2.43-acre spa hotel site (Parcel “Y” within River Landing Phase I) was $2.9 million. Remai Ventures purchased the land from the City for $1.6 million.


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