In November 2013, the University of Saskatchewan announced the signing of a long-term land lease that would allow P.R. Hotels Ltd. and Normandale Holdings Ltd. to build a hotel development near Griffiths Stadium. The project, now completed, is part of the university’s long-term vision for College Quarter.
The new building was part of the College Quarter Master Plan, which was approved by the U of S Board of Governors in 2009. This document outlined a plan to improve the College Quarter area by developing dynamic campus spaces. The creation of these College Quarter hotels aims to address the need for temporary and long-term accomodations created by the university’s community.
The hotels are located on College Drive beside the Stadium Parkade and are less than a 10-minute walk from the U of S main campus. Jeff Krivoshen, chief operating officer at P.R. Hotels, explains that the hotels’ location has kept them in demand since they opened in early March.
“We received our first customers the night of Friday, March 9, and we’ve been in operation for the last [three] weeks,” Krivoshen said. “It’s been very well received — a lot of people are excited to have this hotel on the campus, on this side of town. It’s centrally located for the east side of town as well as for all the university clientele.”
The building is home to two hotel franchises: Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites. Krivoshen explains that each hotel caters to different types of customers, based on the duration of their stay.
“We have a Holiday Inn Express that has 123 rooms, which is considered the select service hotel… That hotel is comprised primarily of single, king and two-queen rooms and services both corporate and leisure guests,” Krivoshen said. “The other hotel is a 97-room Staybridge Suites hotel… All of those rooms have a full-sized kitchen in them, so they are basically apartment-style accommodations for long-term or extended-stay guests.”
The hotels’ development broke ground in October 2016, after experiencing delays due to problems subdividing the land. Despite setbacks, Krivoshen states that they were able to complete construction in the time allotted.
“The construction actually was probably two months ahead of schedule. It went very well, and we timed it when there was some availability within the trades in Saskatoon, so they were able to get it done much quicker than we first anticipated,” Krivoshen said. “Our agreement with the university was to have it open by March 2018, and we have fulfilled our agreement.”
Krivoshen explains that the hotel complex is an important venture, as it shows that the university can use partnerships to develop its land. Preston Crossing is another major product of the university’s work with a private partner.
“It’s a strong partnership between the U of S and the private sector,” Krivoshen said. “Obviously, the university isn’t in the hotel business, nor should they be, but they have vast land, and they felt that a hotel is something they wanted, not unlike the partnership they [have] with Harvard Developments for Preston Crossing.”
The university attracts a variety of people who need a place to stay while they study, work or visit. For Krivoshen, the hotel development is a practical step for the university, as it addresses the needs of its growing community.
“The hotel is something they felt was important to have in close proximity to the university, for all the faculty, students, researchers and people visiting the hospital or the [Saskatoon Cancer Centre]… It’s also a great location for students from outside of town, whose parents and family might want to come visit them occasionally,” Krivoshen said. “I think it’s a logical decision to put a hotel in the U of S.”
Ana Cristina Camacho
Photo: Riley Deacon