Vision Vanier, Montreal Road CIP’s Impacts on Affordable Housing

Written by Mark Sider

November 18, 2019

One of the greatest challenges facing municipal governments today is the need to stimulate economic development and urban renewal in the face of existing limitations on municipal government authority. To do so, municipalities are increasingly turning to innovative tools and techniques that are designed to encourage the private sector to participate in economic development and renewal activities.

One of the tools available to municipalities are Community Improvement Plans (CIPs).

Vision Vanier is an umbrella initiative aimed at providing a coordinated communications and engagement approach to city projects for residents, businesses, community associations and other key stakeholders. The goal of Vision Vanier is to raise awareness, share information, gather feedback and affect positive change.

Credit: City of Ottawa

The Montreal Road CIP is one part of a six part plan described in Vision Vanier. The goal of the Montreal Road Community Improvement Plan (CIP) is to stimulate private investment, urban renewal, and property upgrades. The CIP provides financial incentives for eligible property owners within the designated area and:

  • Supports revitalization and improvements to the quality of the neighbourhood;
  • Drives creation of new affordable housing;
  • Encourages the development of new cultural assets;
  • Supports businesses, including not-for-profit entities; and
  • Contributes to making Vanier’s main street an attractive and business-friendly environment.

Redevelopment typically increases the market value assessment of any given property once the redevelopment is complete. A “TIEG”, or a Tax Increment Equivalent Grant provides grants or rebates to property owners to offset a portion of the property tax increase the owners will face as a result of the redevelopment. The TIEG is payable in installments, typically over a 10-year period, with year one rebating 100 per cent of the tax increase, and the percentage declining over time.

In this CIP, eligible property owners will be provided with financial incentives in the form of an annual TIEG equal to 75% of the municipal tax increase attributable to the redevelopment (up to 10 years to a maximum of $5 million or 50% of the total redevelopment costs). Within the Quartier Vanier Zone (North River Road to St. Laurent Blvd.), additional CIP programs offering supplementary benefits are available to eligible property owners. These programs increase the annual TIEG to 100% of municipal tax increase attributable to the redevelopment and must include one or more of the following:

1. Affordable Housing Development
2. Support for Cultural Activities and Artists
3. Support for Social Enterprises

This is wonderful news for those looking to develop affordable housing. Typically, property taxes make up a significant portion of a building’s operating budget. By reducing–or in this case, eliminating–those costs in an operating budget, the project requires less initial equity investment and can service a much higher mortgage. As an example, an affordable housing development of approximately 30 units that Cahdco is currently working on has a project cost of $11.5M. If this project qualified for the Montreal Road CIP Tax Increment Equivalent Grant, that cash would allow the development to finance an additional $2M, thus lessening the pressure to fund-raise, if eligible, or to find sufficient government grants.

Mark Sider

Senior Project Manager

November 18, 2019