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Developed parking lots would get tax breaks: Katz

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Mayor Sam Katz has pledged to reduce the number of surface parking lots in downtown Winnipeg by ensuring developers won't get hit with higher property-tax bills if they build on empty lots.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/10/2010 (4367 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Mayor Sam Katz has pledged to reduce the number of surface parking lots in downtown Winnipeg by ensuring developers won’t get hit with higher property-tax bills if they build on empty lots.

Katz proposed today to freeze property taxes for five years on any downtown surface lot that is developed upward. Increased property taxes would then be phased in over the following three years.

Katz said an empty lot currently assessed at $200,000 could be reassessed at $2 million if it becomes a commercial property right now.

His plan would see the assessment frozen at the existing rate.

The mayor said this incentive will work better than issuing penalties for property owners who do not redevelop surface lots.

Downtown Winnipeg has 140 surface lots, he said, estimating “20 to 30” are city-owned.

The surface-lot tax incentives would not be open to any developer who takes advantage of other tax-incentive plans, such as the city-provincial strategy aimed at residential development.

Parkades would be eligible, but only if they have retail or other commercial developments on the main floor, Katz said.

Katz could not explain why he has not introduced this plan before.

His pledge comes six days after mayoral challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis made a similar pledge to create incentives to reduce surface lots. She did not provide any details about how her plan would work, however.

Both Wasylycia-Leis and Katz say they want to use proceeds from the $24-million sale of the Winnipeg Square Parkade to repair existing city parkades and build at least three new ones, with commercial developments on the main floor.

Wasylycia-Leis also pledged to not allow any new surface lots downtown, while Katz said the city already has a near-ban in place.

Some demolitions have taken place downtown, however.

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