Tax exemption incentive approved for downtown Kelowna building

City hopes new incentive will spur development on Lawrence and Leon Avenues.

A new four-storey building under construction on Lawrence Avenue will take advantage of a Kelowna municipal tax exemption and is expected to be complete during the summer of 2013.

And the city hopes it, along with two other planned developments in the area, will spur new building in the area, long a target by city hall for developmental revitalization.

Worman Commercial purchased the property at 265 Lawrence Avenue from the city and will build a red- brick commercial building with FH & P Lawyers as its anchor tenant.

“This building will be a great addition to the downtown and it’s great that the revitalization tax exemption played a part in getting this project underway,” said Jordan Hettinga, Kelowna’s real estate services manager.

Builders who take advantage of the exemption program downtown or in the Rutland business district can be exempt from paying up to 100 per cent of the municipal share of taxes for up to 10 years on the improvement portion of a project.

Through the agreement process, Worman Commercial has committed to development timelines, building size and some design features requested by the city. On Monday, council approved the exemption for Worman’s Lawrence Avenue project.

“Getting redevelopment started in this area was a priority for council, so it’s encouraging to see property developers and business owners getting involved,” said Mayor Walter Gray. “There are good opportunities for redevelopment on Leon and Lawrence, plus we’re beginning to see more interest in general throughout the downtown.”

The revitalization tax exemption bylaw was amended in 2011 as an incentive for property owners to invest in new projects that energize urban centres. Exemptions were also approved earlier this year for Troika Developments at 554 Leon Avenue and Davara Holdings’ project near the corner of Leon Avenue and Bertram Street.

 

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