Comment 37343

By Ferguson (anonymous) | Posted January 23, 2010 at 16:49:17

The problem with downtown is the depressed real estate values. While the initial purchase price of property may be cheap, owners can't charge enough for rent or sale to make money. The only reason the Lister Block is being renovated is because the City agreed to lease it and pay inflated rents for many years. The owners of the Connaught wanted to make it into subsidized housing because they need the government to chip in some of the rent money. Look at all of the stalled condo projects, the reason is because there is no money to be made on any of them.

If there was money to be made downtown we wouldn't have the problems that we have there. Property owners aren't stupid. There hasn't been any money to be made downtown for the last twenty years, unless you run a pawn shop or a discount store. Ultimately this is the fault of city planners for allowing urban sprawl to take place and for not giving enough incentives to downtown property owners. The LRT might help raise property values but only as a part of a broader strategy. The bottom line is the City must do whatever it takes to help property owners make money. That's the only way there is ever going to be sustained development downtown.

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