After 44 years in business making custom glass tiles, there is real concern at Interstyle Ceramic and Glass about the future.
The Burnaby business has seen its property value sky rocket by more than 250 per cent.
And with a tax bill due this summer that could be significantly higher, the owner of one of the only tile manufacturing plants left in Canada might be forced to shut down.
“I hadn’t planned on finding an extra $400,000 to pay taxes this summer. It really puts my business in jeopardy,” said Kim Hauner the owner of Interstyle.
The factory has been at the corner of Brighton Avenue and Winston Street since 2003, and Hauner is looking at moving the operation elsewhere.
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Hauner is not alone. His neighbours are facing similar exorbitant increases.
The Costco across the street saw an assessment increase of $55.5 million, a 192 per cent jump.
Businesses on either side of the tile factory saw their assessments go from $4 million to $23 million, an increase of 389 per cent.
Tax agents say all the increases are due to two sales dozens of blocks away.
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“There is an official community plan in place that allows for the possibility of residential development near the Lougheed Highway and SkyTrain line,” said property tax agent Paul Sullivan.
“Now that some of that land has been sold, it allows the assessment authority to make the case all of the land in that area is worth more.”
The trigger in this case was the sale of the Saputo Plant at the corner of Sperling Avenue and Lougheed Highway. The sale is expected to be more than $200 million dollars, and the value of that land jumped to $197 million this year.
Next door is a property valued at $143 million, and the ripple effect is being felt blocks away. According to Hauner, this is nothing but speculation driving up the cost of his business.
“They aren’t looking at anything other than the value of the land. There is no accounting for the use of it, or the people who work there,” said Hauner.
He has 125 people working in his factory, people who pay taxes, and contribute to the economy.
The City of Burnaby said there are no plans to rezone the industrial land around the tile factory.
“There is a shortage of industrial land in this city, but we can’t control the sale of private land,” said Burnaby Coun. Pietro Callendino.
That shortage of industrial land extends around the region. Even if Hauner does want to cash in and relocate the business he may not be able to. There are few parcels of land big enough to meet his needs.