In 2011, Northern Development and the City of Prince George committed to recharging the downtown with a $6 million community revitalization program. The goal of the project was to provide developers with real incentives to invest in the area, encouraging more private sector development in the downtown. The program provided developers a choice of lump sum or deferred tax incentive to offset their cost of construction, which meant developers could use the deferred tax benefit as a loan to help pay for the project up front or delay tax payments up to 10 years. The program also offered $10,000 for every new housing unit within the downtown zone, giving people the opportunity to the downtown lifestyle.
“This initiative is a catalyst that will boost economic development in downtown Prince George in time for the 2015 Canada Winter Games and a host of other significant milestones for the city and region as a whole,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust.
The program has already led to new townhome developments and major façade improvements.
Gordon Bliss, president of InVestgo Ventures Ltd., which built townhouses in the downtown, said, “it helped our project to move forward as we could use the tax incentive money as equity with our financial institution … this incentive also allowed us to upgrade the look of the buildings inside and out and still offer the units at a favourable price.”