Turning the Tide closing, proprietor fears demolition of historic Saskatoon buildings

An independent bookstore in Saskatoon closes after receiving an eviction notice. Now toThe owner fears the demolition of historic buildings.

Turning the Tide has been in a small, old house on 525 11th Street East, just off Broadway Avenue, for 11 years. The shop, which sells books on social justice and environmental sustainability, has been vacated by January 31, shop owner Peter Garden said.

He said his building and the Farnam Block, the former home of Lydia’s Pub, were sold earlier this month.

The City of Saskatoon has confirmed it has received demolition requests for both properties. She reviews the application and then makes a decision.

“We hope it’s not a demolition,” said Garden. “From my point of view, the iconic buildings are in the neighborhood.”

Garden said he would miss being in the building.

“I’ve lived in this bookstore for a quarter of my life and I’ve gotten hooked on it,” he said. “It has become my second home, so to speak.”

The house is one of the oldest in the city and an important cultural landmark, he said.

But the bookstore doesn’t end there. He will look for a new location.

What now?

According to Gaby Akl, a realtor for the Enzo Group, the properties were bought by a group of Saskatoon professionals.

Akl said the group is still not clear what their plans are for the building.

Civil engineers and architects examine the aging Farnam Block building, which has been vacant for a year and a half. The building is known to have major structural problems.

The agent said the group is interested in the nature of the property but still doesn’t know what the finished version will look like.

“It’s like a balancing act,” says Akl. “We all know the story behind this building and what it means. At the same time, economic efficiency also comes into play.”

It is still unclear what the land will be used for. However, Akl doubts it is a condo.

“It’s very vague at this point, but the residential component is likely a third option,” he said.

Akl said he would like the new development to blend in with the environment.

“We all understand the importance of this street and its retail component, and we want to preserve the shopping experience that people expect when they get to Broadway.

Charlie Clark, councilor for the area, hopes the building can be saved.

“The Farnam Block is certainly a historic building on Broadway, perhaps one of the most distinctive buildings,” he said. “So obviously very popular and a place that had a lot of community events and stories and experiences.”

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