Comment 28001

By Bob Bratina (anonymous) | Posted December 28, 2008 at 01:43:08

I've been enjoying this discussion, especially the part about property values. In 2001 the Spectator wrote "Lament for a Downtown", including the essay.."Rotting in the Core", citing depressed property values. Our Downtown Loans program turned the vacant post office building on Market Street into the Staybridge Suites Hotel. Taxes before...$40,000 per year. Taxes now...$345,000 per year. The building was assessed at $11 million when we negotiated the loan, and sold this past year for $17 million. Land values all through the Downtown core and surrounding neighbourhoods have soared.
We're nowhere near our potential, but we're a long way from the "lament" article. The City Centre deal is not done as far as I'm concerned. I'm working on an independent professional evaluation of the proposal, which should include the impact on downtown leasing rates by "dumping" commercial space onto the market, and the potential assessment value to the City taxpayer of the sale of the City Hall site and building. Although there is a role for government to play in the healthy development of the municipality, there is no excuse for supporting construction costs of $400 and $500 dollars per square foot when the going rates in this community are between $80 and $150 psf. Private corporations would never spend this kind of money to provide themselves with office space. For the next 20 years our accomodation costs will add about 1 per cent to taxes, whereas staying where we are would be revenue neutral, and we would end up owning the asset.

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