For over a year now, rumours have been circulating about a new office development for the corner of Hamilton and 12th in downtown Regina. They’ve gained credence over the last six months as businesses like upscale Moment in Thyme restaurant and Comic Readers have either closed up shop or moved to new premises in the downtown. Today speculation became fact when Harvard Developments announced plans to build a new 18 to 20 story office tower on the site.

Quality office space is currently at a premium in Regina. This will be the first “class A” development since 1992. At present, Harvard is working with the city to ensure the proposed design accords with provisions in the new Downtown Neighbourhood Plan which is geared to enhancing the pedestrian experience in the downtown. One element that leaps out for me from the artist’s illustration of the building that Harvard released is the use of set backs so that the main tower doesn’t extend down to sidewalk level. Instead, it sits on a two story or so base. That way, when wind hits the tower it won’t be funnelled down to street level but instead will be deflected upward when it hits the base. That should lessen the type of wind tunnel effect that the two neighbouring towers on the F.W. Hill Mall generate.

The building’s principle tenant will be the Mosaic Company which news reports describe as the world’s largest producer and marketer of potash and phosphate. Assuming city planning approval is obtained soon, construction could begin later this summer Harvard spokesperson Roseanne Hill Blaisdell said.

Other developments also in the works for the downtown include the Capital Pointe hotel and condo complex on Victoria and Albert, an office building on Albert and 11th and a residential tower on 20 block Rose.