City recommends buyer that would turn downtown hotel into student housing, medical accommodations

The City of Prince Albert took possession of the former Quality Inn in July, which Cumberland Crossing hopes to turn into affordable student housing and medical accommodations. (Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald)

Prince Albert may soon have more housing options for students and accommodations for families of hospital patients.

City staff are recommending that Cumberland Crossing purchase the former Quality Inn downtown. The recommended buyer offered $900,000 for the 1.63-acre property, located at 67 – 13th St. E.

Council expects to finalize the purchase at a special meeting on Tuesday.

Along with turning the shuttered hotel into affordable student housing and medical accommodations, the building would also include a daycare, study room, restaurant, community kitchen, ballroom with a 200-plus guest capacity, three to five meeting rooms and a medical taxi to transport guests to and from the hospital, medical facilities and the airport.

“The proposed synopsis for Cumberland Crossing for the Quality Inn Hotel is an exciting endeavour and goal to merge affordable student housing with medical accommodations,” wrote City Manager Jim Toye in the agenda.

“The transformation of an abandoned hotel to a new student housing complex along with so many essential services will revitalize the downtown core and provide the facility with a fresh new look and will bring people downtown.”

In the agenda, Toye wrote that the proposal is a “multi-faceted solution” to a lack of affordable housing, accommodations and child care in the city.

Prince Albert’s post-secondary institutions include the First Nations University of Canada, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Gabriel Dumont Institute and the University of Saskatchewan campus.

The project would convert about 40 per cent of the 93 rooms into affordable housing units for the growing student population, with a subsidized, on-site daycare facility.

Cumberland Crossing’s $900,000 bid, including GST, was the second highest to $1,100,000. However, this offer was on a conditional three-year lease with a $100,000 down payment.

The remaining bids ranged from $75,000, including GST, to $500,000.

The agenda said Cumberland Crossing provided the highest bid with no conditions.

The document shows that there’s still $877,144.45 still owing on the property.

“The amount being received for the sale of the Tax Title Land will cover all outstanding taxes owing and arrears. That is a positive win for the city,” it reads.

The city published on Sask. Tenders back on July 16, one day after it took possession of the property through Municipal Tax Enforcement. Since then, the city has been maintaining the site and making power, energy and cleaning payments.

Bid offers to purchase closed on Aug. 27.

Toye declined to comment further on the potential purchase before the special council meeting, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.