The addition of a new office tower to Regina's skyline — the first such building in two decades — was celebrated Friday, on the same day people learned that another downtown highrise — the SGI building — may get a For Sale sign.
The doors were opened on Hill Centre Tower III even though much interior work still needs to be done.
The 20-storey building was conceived by Harvard Developments along with several institutional investors, including a provincial pension fund.
It sits on the corner of 12th Avenue and Hamilton Street, the third in a string of similar glass and steel buildings bearing the Hill name.
The Hill company, which owns Harvard Developments, is well-known in Regina for its significant real estate investments and business ventures in the city.
Regina's mayor, Michael Fougere, said the new building was symbolic of confidence in the city's economy.
"I think we're living in a new Saskatchewan," Fougere said. "I know that's an old term but we're in a different era. A different economy than we've had before. And this is illustrative of the confidence, because it's not a small investment to build this kind of a tower downtown."
According to a news release from Harvard, the new tower will be ready for office workers to move in, in the spring.
It will feature a unique rooftop patio space that may be made available — from time to time — for special community events.
Already slated as major tenants are the Mosaic Company, which will have its company name on the top of the tower, and the Canadian Western Bank as well as TD Waterhouse.
SGI Building needs work
On the same day as officials were praising a new office tower, another major downtown Regina building was in the news as needing extensive renovations.
SGI, the provincial Crown corporation that oversees car insurance, is looking to possibly sell its head office.
The bronze-hued high rise is a fixture of Regina's skyline but officials say the 33-year-old building needs a lot of updates, from windows to wiring to plumbing.
On Friday, it was learned SGI is seeking expressions of interest from potential buyers.
The company says it might be more economical for workers to move to a new building rather than fix up the current one.
It has needed work in the past.
In 2004, SGI announced it would spend $3.9 million to look after what was described as "severe structural deterioration," according to a news release from the government at the time.
The release said water seepage had resulted in corrosion to a key structural component of the building, known as post-tension cables.
The 18-storey building was in the news again, in 2010, when strong winds forced some 850 workers out into the street.
Officials said that a metal panel at the base of the building's exterior had broken due to the force of the wind.
They said that led to concerns about glass, because the damaged panel holds the building's glass facade in place.