Smith Street Lands Ltd. will not be receiving a property tax reduction on the potential purchase of the former Capital Pointe site in a Regina.
City council voted 10-1 in favour of administration’s recommendation to deny its request to eliminate $692,562.60 of $2,901,030.71 owed in outstanding property taxes in a special council meeting on Friday morning.
Smith Street Lands has previously said it may have to walk away from the purchase if those taxes remained on the table.
Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said as much she would like the property to be sold, council isn’t willing to do it at the expense of taxpayers.
“I keep trying to back away and come at it with a rational perspective. If the city can collect its $2.9 million, collect the cost owed to the city that would preferential,” Masters said.
“Regardless of what people are saying, one way or the other, that would be the ultimate goal. They (Smith Street Lands) have a decision to make. We’re not the property owners, we are simply first-on property in terms of charges owed.”
At council on Wednesday, Smith Street Lands told council it had great plans for the site, but was unable to share the information because of confidentiality reasons.
A private meeting between the two parties was held on Friday prior to the special public meeting to better understand Smith Street Lands’ plan moving forward.
However, some councillors believed details on its plan were too limited.
“Frankly, they didn’t share anything new with us,” said Daniel LeBlanc, Ward 6 councillor.
“We don’t know what they are looking to build, how tall that’s going to be, who’s going to build it, when it will be built, what tenant or the purpose it might be used for.”
The one councillor who did vote against administration’s recommendation was John Findura, representing Ward 5.
“We could be sitting on this empty property for another four years. We may not be able to sell this property for what we are asking for,” Findura said.
“For me, I think we should get ourselves out of this hole and move forward.”
The site has been sitting vacant since 2017 after work stopped on the Capital Pointe project — a promised 27-storey condo and hotel complex — leaving a giant hole in the city’s core.
The city paid to have it filled in 2019.
There have been talks of a possible conditional grant equivalent to a partial property tax reduction of $600,000, but nothing has been decided.
Global News spoke with Smith Street Lands president Robert Goldman who said it would not be providing comment at this time, but would reach out once he is ready to discuss the matter.