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Market Slip redevelopment in Saint John taking shape ahead of completion goal

Whether it’s the finished sidewalk along Water Street, the paving of the Harbour Passage Extension, or the sight of tidal steps being implemented along the water, the work on the redevelopment of Market Slip in Saint John, N.B., is in the home stretch.

“It’s like a puzzle that you can’t see the result until you get near the end,” says Dan Glenn, the principal for Glenn Group Landscape Architects. “They’re seeing that now.”

The near $10 million project has seen the end of King Street in the city’s uptown behind fences since the spring.

“When you’re building in places like historic Market Slip you usually find some surprises in the ground with old infrastructure,” Glenn says. “We’ve had a few of those, a few floods, few storms, all of the things that are usual.”

“We are being impacted still by supply chain issues, and weather has been a factor,” continues Glenn. “It’s been a complicated project with many aspects so it’s hard to say right now when we will be done.”

Saint John commissioner of utilities and infrastructure, Ian Fogan, says a rainy summer used up most of the “buffer” time. He still expects the majority of the work to be done on time by the end of 2023, with touch up work to be done once the snow melts.

“Everyone well knows in the Saint John area Harbour Passage is painted that sort of red colour.” Fogan notes. “It’s not the best idea to paint in December outside, so the same with some planting of ornamental flowers and plants we will probably wait until the spring to plant them, otherwise we will be replanting them in the spring.”

Resident won’t have to wait until the spring to take in all that the reimagined Market Slip has to offer.

“With the outdoor skating surface and the heated glassed in patio section, it really is going to be a bigger value to the users of Saint John and visitors too as now you can come anytime of year and enjoy that space,” Fogan gleams.

After years filled with COVID-19 shutdowns and construction, restaurants at Market Square eagerly await the all season patios.

“We are actually going to have heating and H-VAC into it so you’re going to be able too be outside in the winter time watching the snow fall, drinking a few beers, eating a few wings and having a good time,” says Saint John Ale House owner Jesse Vergen.

Vergen says he has waited years to finally see his new patio come to life. This past summer wasn’t ideal for the patio he says, as construction next door led to confusion from customers with access points changing due to the work.

“We have some cool things in the works with different partnerships to bring some really cool events to the boardwalk,” says Vergen. “At the end of the day it’s going to be bright, new, flashy, awesome, and a perfect fit for uptown Saint John.”

“Anybody who walks by the space gets an understanding for both the size and significance it’s going to have in this community,” says Saint John City Councillor David Hickey. “It’s really going to become the gathering place in Saint John’s uptown.”

Hickey also notes the Fundy Quay project, undertaken by the Fundy Harbour Group, has also begun work. The project will see five new high-rises built over the next 10 years beside the public Market Slip space, with over 600 residential units to be included.

“Saint John is like every other city in the country in the midst of a housing crisis,” Hickey says. “We need more buildings built, and this is a part of it.”

Each building is expected to take around two years to complete.

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