Saskatchewan

Regina city council votes to allow Capital Pointe property to be a temporary parking lot

Regina city council voted Wednesday to allow a mortgage company to turn the infamous Capital Pointe property into a parking lot for one year.

A rezoning proposal tabled in early September has now been approved.

The empty lot that the Capital Pointe project was supposed to occupy is located at the corner of Albert Street and Victoria Avenue in Regina. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Regina city council voted Wednesday to allow a mortgage company to turn the infamous Capital Pointe property into a parking lot for one year.

This decision came after a lengthy question period between council and the prospective buyers of the property, Magnetic Capital. 

On Sept. 9, the city's planning commission said it would wait until next year before talking about allowing a parking lot on the former Capital Pointe lot, located on the corner of Albert Street and Victoria Avenue. They were awaiting a report on parking in downtown, due out in the first quarter of 2021.

But Magnetic Capital requested that the council re-approach the subject, saying they needed a decision immediately. The company is set to gain full ownership of the land in mid-November. Magnetic said it needed approval of a temporary parking permit as it is a condition of the offer that Magnetic has made on the property, and so that it can cover city taxes in 2021.

The group says its development partners want to ensure that the project is viable. 

The sale of the property means that the city will get the $2.7 million it is owed on the property. Magnetic Capital told city council that it would develop the property into something other than a parking lot eventually. But they said they were not able to release any details or a plan of what the development will be at this time. 

Regina City Council voted on the future of the former Capital Pointe site on Wednesday. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Multiple councillors expressed concern over the lack of a development plan. So as a stipulation of the parking lot approval, city council now requires that Magnetic Capital come up with a development plan for the property once the year is up.   

Mayor Michael Fougere voted in favour of the temporary parking lot, despite it not being what he calls 'a perfect solution.'

"We have is a project that will come forward that will pay down the taxes ... which we wouldn't otherwise get," said Fougere.

"We have a proposal that will see not just a flat piece of land now, but a parking lot that will be developed. So it's not the perfect solution. The perfect solution would have been to have a development many years ago. "

The proposed parking lot would include 87 parking stalls, in addition to eight stalls for bicycle and motorcycle parking. 

"The fact that they're coming forward, even in the middle of COVID... and we're coming to a second wave... and they're still willing to go forward, shows me that there's some underlying confidence in our economy," Fougere said. 

Eleven years ago, developers promised a multimillion-dollar, 27-storey condo and hotel complex at 1971 Albert St.

But work on the Capital Pointe project stopped in 2017, leaving only a big hole in the ground, which the city had to backfill itself in 2019 for safety reasons.

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