News / Winnipeg

Winnipeg heritage buildings could see new city grants

An administrative report is proposing council consider grant 80 per cent of municipal taxes back to developers for 12 years to incentivize heritage development.

Metro File

Heritage buildings in Winnipeg may see more funding freed up for redevelopment if city council decides to pilot a new grant program.

A report going to the property and development committee Tuesday proposes council approve grant funding for two existing heritage properties “on terms that would serve as the basis for a new heritage grant program.”

The new program would grant back 80 per cent of municipal taxes for 12 years to heritage properties.

The administrative report notes it would have “specific incentives for assisting owners of vacant or underutilized heritage structures with the redevelopment of their properties as a means to contribute to the vitality and well-being of Winnipeg’s heritage stock.”

With council’s support, the pilot program would kick off with grants being provided to a Sport Manitoba property on Pacific Avenue—the Sport for Life Fieldhouse—and to the provincial housing renewal corporation for the former Merchant Hotel on Selkirk Avenue.

Starting the pilot program would require the enactment of a new by-law by council, which the city solicitor is being directed to prepare and deliver to council.

The new funding model would function initially as an alternative to the existing heritage conservation tax credit program—which both properties have pre-existing applications for—but could eventually replace it entirely.

City administration estimates the Sport Manitoba deal would result in approximately $1.9 million in incremental property taxes being granted back—and that resulting upgrades would yield a roughly 1,000 per cent increase in property value.

The Merchant Hotel project would cost $126,000 in taxes being granted back to the housing corporation, to yield an approximate 350 per cent increase the property’s value.

The pilot would last as long as it takes to make those two grants happen plus one more, or for five years, whichever occurs first, and would then be evaluated and compared against the existing heritage tax credit model.

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