Longtime Calgary restaurant closes in wake of ‘ever-increasing city property taxes’

The downtown Calgary restaurant, Abruzzo Ristorante, is shutting its doors amid "increased operating costs.". Global News

After nearly three decades in business a downtown Calgary restaurant has closed its doors permanently.

“After serving our clients for the past 29 years, Abruzzo Ristorante has chosen to close due to continual increased operating costs, particularly ever-increasing city property taxes facing businesses in the downtown sector,” read an automated email reply to its online booking system.

“We sincerely thank you for your patronage.”

In an email to Global News, the owners confirmed the restaurant is closed. They declined an interview but said “the letter is self-explanatory.”

READ MORE: Calgary restaurant Bar C to close Friday

Late Monday afternoon, there was no sign on the restaurant’s door to indicate its closure.

Earlier this year, Calgary businesses were bracing for looming property tax hikes.

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“There were businesses this year that could have faced a 30 per cent increase or even higher,” said Scott Crockatt, director of communications with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

However, in late January, city council approved a program that ensures assessment-related hikes for non-residential properties will be limited to five per cent.

The $45-million program will be automatically applied when property tax bills are mailed out in May.

“While I certainly would hope that no business would have to pay a single dollar more in tax this year than they would in previous years, I think this move by the city to cap the property tax increase at five per cent shows recognition of this issue and keeps it to a level that should be more modest and manageable for most businesses,” Crockatt said.

READ MORE: Calgary city council unanimously approves 2017 property tax freeze

He added businesses that were anticipating a property tax hike should research the program.

“Especially if that big property tax increase could put your business into jeopardy, then you need to find out about this program and get some clarity on exactly what size of tax increase you might be facing.”



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