By Scott Larson, The StarPhoenix, October 16, 2014 -
Yellow Quill First Nation announced it is moving forward with plans to build a commercial office building in downtown Saskatoon.
Yellow Quill has secured reserve status for the property, located at 240 4th Ave. South, and is currently looking at tenant leasing commitments.
The pre-leasing will determine when the project will start and how big it will be. The First Nations Bank of Canada has already signed on to be the first confirmed tenant.
"We have put a lot of time and energy and commitment into getting to where we are today," said Yellow Quill Chief Larry Cachene. "We've been at this now for close to five years."
Cachene said the plan is for a six-or seven-storey building that will be 65 to 70 per cent pre-leased.
"We're in the marketing and promotion phase of the project. Now that we have achieved reserve status with this property, we have enhanced our attractiveness to businesses including First Nation businesses or those businesses who want to build strong partnerships with First Nations," he said. "The business community wants to attract and engage First Nations people into the workforce. This office building will provide an excellent vehicle for those partnerships and will contribute to the growing Saskatchewan economy."
The building is targeted to be environmentally designed with LEED gold certification and the project plans are scalable so additional floors can be added if demand exists.
Cachene said other smaller businesses have signed on besides the First Nations Bank of Canada.
"The only hurdle we have to face is making sure we minimize the risk for our membership by getting the pre-leasing done," he said. "I feel confident when the equipment is on site we will fill that building."
Long-term revenue from the project is earmarked to be reinvested into the Yellow Quill First Nation community and membership, particularly education and housing.
"We did thorough research and determined the highest and best use was to invest in another commercial office space," Cachene said. "We presented our research and reports to our members and they voted overwhelmingly in favour of the project."
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