Downtown Windsor CIP lures nearly $60 million of private investment

Monday, June 11, 2018

CTV Windsor/Rich Garton

 

Windsor's planning committee has been busy recommending applications to the Downtown Enhancement Strategy to council and committee members are praising the results.

"For every dollar of incentive that the municipality is providing, there is nearly an eight dollar return on that,” said committee chair Bill Marra after Monday’s meeting. “Clearly, it's been successful, and I think what we need to do is keep our ear to the ground and get the feedback we've been getting from the private sector.”

To date, nine applications have been approved by council with more still being processed.

The early results of the community improvement plan are being considered impressive, with 179 proposed residential units downtown, seven new retail units as well as extensive hotel renovations.

The city has leveraged about $7 million in incentives, mostly in tax increment grants. That investment has lured nearly $60 million of private investment into downtown Windsor alone.

The investment also means a higher assessment value – which will ultimately add about $700,000 to the city’s tax base.

“It's a win-win situation, we certainly didn't create this policy to create the added revenue, that's the added bonus,” said Marra. “Frankly, it’s really to provide a much needed service, and with all the other investments happening in the downtown, we couldn’t have timed it better.” 

About two-thirds of the allotted money has been drawn from the account, with $276,000 remaining.

The program has been considered so successful, committee members are hoping council will come up with more money to fund future projects.

“I’m of the opinion that it's a no-brainer. Council certainly has to provide the funds; where else can you get 8:1 return on your dollar?” said Marra.

He believes it will be a decision of the next council, likely contemplated during the 2019 budget deliberations.

“I think the stats we talked about tonight and the success we've had tonight will make it a very easy decision for the next mayor and the next council to contemplate,” he said.