Work on World Trade Center Saskatoon to start this summer

Downtown Saskatoon could be getting a major face-lift shortly.

$50M office tower hopefully complete by 2019

The proposed building is for 22nd Street, between 3rd and 4th avenues. (Steve Pasqualotto)

Downtown Saskatoon could be getting a major face-lift shortly.

Canwest Commercial & Land Corporation has announced its plans to build a $50-million office tower in downtown Saskatoon. The project is tentatively called World Trade Center Saskatoon.

The company hopes to start excavation work by this summer, and to have a completed building ready for tenants by 2019.

"It's a very, very ambitious program," said Canwest senior consultant and former Saskatoon mayor Don Atchison.

Canwest owns a large section of land between Third and Fourth Avenue S. along 22nd Street E. The new tower would likely face Fourth Avenue.

Building design under wraps

The office tower will be part of the World Trade Centers Association, a global network of 325 linked centres. This would be the first world trade centre in Saskatchewan. There are six in Canada.

"This is something where the government and private sector and NGOs can all get together and work together," Atchison said. "This could really have a tremendous impact for our city and for our province."

Canwest's sister company, North Prairie Developments, has been working on the project since 2013. At one point, the company said it planned to build a 31-storey condo tower and another 19-storey office tower. The two buildings would be the tallest towers in the province.

However, in November, the company asked city council to rezone the project, but did not give further information beyond that.

Right now, it's not clear how tall the current office building will be. Atchison said above-grade parking has been moved underground in the plans.

Canwest is planning to unveil more information, including architectural designs, at a news conference in the next four to six weeks.