The ghosts of criminals past appear to be contributing to Saskatoon’s downtown office vacancy rate.
The city’s old police station, a 69,000-square-foot building located across the street from City Hall and the main public library, has been vacant for nearly three years.
It was first put on the market with a price tag of $15.6 million but there have been no takers. An offer of $11 million from Meridian Development was rejected last spring.
“There has been a downturn in the market since [it was put on the market]. It was a fairly aggressive price appraisal and current market conditions don’t reflect that,” said Tom McClocklin, president and managing director of Colliers International Saskatchewan.
McClocklin estimated a minimum seven-figure renovation will be required in order for the building to be palatable for office use. (It has already been gutted.)
The old cop shop is one of the highest profile empty properties contributing to the city’s 14.3 per cent vacancy rate, a figure that has been rising steadily since bottoming at 2 per cent in 2011.
A struggling economy and the growing popularity of urban office space are hardly contributing to a sense of optimism that the building will be repurposed any time soon. One possibility is simply demolishing it.
“There’s no doubt that if Saskatoon was booming, somebody would have taken it over. It’s questionable whether it’s an office building any way,” McClocklin said.