Manitoba’s new tax increment financing to support Portage Place redevelopment

The street view looking east at the proposed new development at Portage Place. Starlight Investments

The Manitoba government has unveiled a new program it hopes will provide more incentive for businesses to expand to the province, including ones like the beleaguered Portage Place mall.

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The Manitoba Works Capital Incentive will use incremental education property tax rebates to support companies making a significant investment in the province.

Businesses looking to establish or expand in Manitoba can use the tax increment financing program if their capital investment in a specific property exceeds $10 million.

They must also have a minimum of 65 per cent of that funding come from private sources and demonstrate potential to create and/or maintain jobs in Manitoba, or that the new business activity will have a substantial and measurable net economic benefit to the province.

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The program comes at a time when businesses are looking for help and private sector development has stalled, according to Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler.

“The Manitoba Works Capital Incentive demonstrates that our province continues to be open for business during these challenging economic times.”

Click to play video: 'Starlight Investments’ Josh Kaufman on a new pedestrian walkway' Starlight Investments’ Josh Kaufman on a new pedestrian walkway
Starlight Investments’ Josh Kaufman on a new pedestrian walkway – Dec 19, 2019

Eichler adds it comes at no risk to the province, as it provides no up-front money to the developer, and the province pays only what is collected in incremental education property tax as a result of the development.

The program is set to get to work right away, supporting a nearly $400-million investment in Portage Place mall by Toronto developer Starlight Investments.

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The downtown mall will be “retrofitted” with two new 20-storey residential towers, new shopping and office spaces, as well as a pedestrian-friendly courtyard and indoor walkway.

READ MORE: Portage Place to undergo up to $400-M retrofit, multi-income residential towers added

The project is expected to create 450 new jobs and has been billed as a significant step in revitalizing Winnipeg’s downtown.

Starlight is set to receive $28.7 million in rebates spread out over 20 years thanks to the new program.

The province says the program is the continuation of the slow phasing-out of education property taxes, something it says it wants to eliminate to relieve taxpayers and bring Manitoba more in line with other provinces.

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Can Portage Place revamp improve safety in downtown Winnipeg? – Dec 20, 2019

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