Council approves six targeted redevelopment incentive projects (TRIP)

Actively encouraging the development and diversification of the local economy continues to be a priority for Lethbridge City Council.

On Tuesday, during its regular meeting, Council voted to approve six Targeted Redevelopment Incentive Program (TRIP) applications – which collectively, along with three previous approvals, will have an estimated return on investment (ROI) of:

  • $14 million in construction value
  • Increase from a base assessment of $6.2 million to $14.6 million at completion (+136 per cent)
  • $3.2 million in net increase in municipal taxes from the redeveloped properties over 20 years

TRIP promotes new construction or major renovation of medium- to large-scale commercial, retail and mixed-use building projects that generate significant and ongoing expansion to the assessment base in the urban core. TRIP includes a tax cancellation of the municipal portion of the taxes based on the increased assessed value due to construction for a pre-determined amount of years which is based on the construction value of the project.

TRIP is one of three incentives that make up the Urban Core Incentive Program, focused on redevelopment and revitalization of the urban core, which includes Downtown Lethbridge, the Warehouse District and 13 Street North.

"When strategically developed, development-based grants and incentives have proven to be an effective tool in economic development in key strategic areas to yield in community return on investment," says Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager. "I commend Council for these approvals and look forward to seeing the vibrancy these projects will help create."

"These redevelopment projects and TRIP are great ways to stimulate economic prosperity and diversification, while also having an impactful long-term positive return on investment," says Mayor Blaine Hyggen.

To date, City Council has approved four TRIP projects (three tax-based and one grant-based) for an estimated total tax cancellation of $830,000 during the next seven years. In approving all six of the applications Tuesday, the estimated total tax cancellation raises to an estimated $1.3 million during the next seven years, while, again, providing an estimated $3.2 million in net increase in municipal taxes from the redeveloped properties across 20 years.

The six projects approved on Tuesday include:

  • 622 3 Avenue South. Foster and Sons Jewelry repositioned its main entrance to face the reconstructed 3rd Avenue. The interior has been completely overhauled with new finishes and barrier-free accessibility improvements have been incorporated
  • 507 6 Avenue South. A complete exterior facade upgrade, as well as structural improvements to support a second floor residential addition with rooftop balcony, for an existing downtown commercial building with several retail spaces
  • 321 8 Street South. Redevelopment of a downtown retail property, vacant for the past five years, into a commercial office space for a local real estate brokerage. Renovation will include new offices, new finishes, new barrier-free washrooms and a facade renovation to rejuvenate the aging exterior
  • 702 3 Avenue South. Modernization and redevelopment of the former Scotiabank building, which has been vacant for nearly 10 years. Redevelopment will result in a building with adequate ventilation, restored exterior facade, modernization of mechanical and electrical systems, increase of usable floor space by extension of second floor system and an increase of accessibility
  • 319 6 Street South. A complete redevelopment of an existing commercial retail and office building into a full new service restaurant and bar, including structural stabilization to support a rooftop patio
  • 1004 1 Avenue South. A complete redevelopment of an existing commercial/warehouse building in the Warehouse District neighbourhood into a fitness facility with mixed-martial arts, yoga and workout room. Extensive improvements were needed to meet current code including new roof, structural improvements, mechanical and electrical systems and accessibility improvements

Check out the following video to hear more directly from applicants on how impactful these incentive programs have been.

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