After nearly two decades in the making, the River Landing plaza has opened to the public as one of the last stages in the development of the River Landing area.
The K. W. Nasser Plaza is named after the university professor and developer who spent years pushing for something on the plot of land.
“I am out of this world,” said Karim “Kay” W. Nasser. “I am somewhere else. Watching everybody, I’m very grateful for all of those who made it.”
Nasser got interested in the site in 2010, after the city had tried for years to attract a developer. The land was part of the city’s Downtown Concept Plan in 2004.
On Tuesday the plaza was unveiled. The hope is that it will draw people downtown, and be a year-round amenity to attract people to the new condos and businesses in the area.
“We all worked together — the mayor, the council, it’s great to work together,” Nasser said. “Without understanding each other and working together it would have never have happened.”
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Mayor Charlie Clark said the plaza is an important new attraction downtown.
“The fact that it’s done, we can finally take down the construction fencing that’s been up for what feels like a decade and open it up to the public. It’s a really great day, especially as we come out of the pandemic,” Clark said.
The developer said the plaza is modelled after world-class plazas in places like Spain and Boston.
“In every great city you want to have great places where people can gather and visit and meet their neighbours, and this plaza is now our permanent plaza in the city,” Clark said.
Clark said he hopes this new space will attract more people and business to the stores and restaurants downtown.
“We need to keep the heart of this city strong in order for the city to be strong and this is one of those sites that will be absolutely fundamental to that,” he said.
Clark said this development helps send a message about the future of Saskatoon.
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