Commercial developers want voice on new fees

Mayor sees second delegation concerned about proposed 'growth fees'


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Representatives of Winnipeg’s non-residential property developers said Tuesday they hope they can have input into a city administrative report on proposed development fees.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/09/2016 (2272 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Representatives of Winnipeg’s non-residential property developers said Tuesday they hope they can have input into a city administrative report on proposed development fees.

A small industry group met with Mayor Brian Bowman Tuesday. On Monday, more than a dozen residential developers and business groups met with the mayor.

Both groups share similar concerns.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Views of the development of True North Square on Graham Avenue. While much of the talk around around development fees has concentrated on the impact they'll have on residential development, the financial implications to the commercial industry could be even greater.

“No one likes new taxes, regardless of what they’re called,” said Tom Thiessen, executive director of the Building Owners and Managers Association, which represents developers who construct commercial, office, industrial and institutional buildings.

“There is a fear development charges will limit development or push development beyond the Perimeter Highway… or kill a deal,” he said.

Thiessen and Darren Klassen of Collier’s International met with Bowman for 45 minutes.

Like the residential developers, Thiessen and Klassen said Bowman listened to them, but they weren’t certain how much input they would have on a report the administration is preparing for councillors’ consideration.

While much of the discussion about growth fees has concentrated on their potential effect on residential development, the financial hit to the commercial industry could be greater.

Hemson Consulting — whose report is the blueprint city officials are using to draft a fee schedule — proposed a series of charges for new residential and non-residential development designed to cover their share of the cost of new infrastructure projects.

Hemson proposed a residential fee rate of $10,168 per 1,000 square feet, which would mean an $18,300 charge for an 1,800-square-foot home and $8,647 for an 850-square-foot condo.

For non-residential projects, Hemson proposed fees per 1,000 square feet of $21,043 for office space; $8,740 for institutional projects; $14,205 for retail; and $5,682 for industrial projects.

Klassen said the fees would boost the cost of an office project by 10 per cent.

Thiessen said the fees are 30 per cent higher than those being charged in Toronto and double those charged in Hamilton. Toronto applies the fees only to the first floor of a project, he said.

In Ottawa, developers pursuing infill and downtown projects are given fee “reductions” as a way to encourage development in those areas, he said.

“We certainly don’t want to be the highest-price market in Canada,” Thiessen said, adding they lobbied for similar discounts for downtown and infill projects.

“That is something the mayor has not taken off the table, so it’s certainly a consideration going forward.”

Thiessen said he wants commercial developers to have input on the fee amount and how it will be applied, similar to a request from residential developers.

“If development charges are in fact a foregone conclusion — we’re not sure they are — we want to ensure we are at the table in the creation of the formula for the charges, how the asset classes are handled, how it’s communicated and (ensure that) there’s a dedicated fund for the charges so they’ll be used for their intended purpose, which is infrastructure enhancement and maintenance.”

Thiessen said he believes the industry has time to shape the report, which councillors will consider.

The mayor said the report is not done.

“That would lead us to believe that will allow us to provide some influence on the report, but there’s no guarantee,” Thiessen said.


Updated on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 12:04 PM CDT: adds photo

Updated on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 4:07 PM CDT: Updates

Updated on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 8:44 PM CDT: updated

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