Manitoba partners with private sector to develop True North Square

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Manitoba government has announced it will provide up to $11.95 million in tax increment financing (TIF)  to support the development of True North Square public plaza in downtown Winnipeg.

The funding is for the development of the plaza and residential tower at 225 Carlton St. — the area will include green space, a water feature and programmable space. Funding will also be provided to support the development of a new residential tower to be connected to The Sutton Place Hotel and Residences at 224 Carlton St. The Sutton Place development will feature retail space, restaurants and be connected to Winnipeg’s existing skywalk system.

Jim Ludlow, president of True North Real Estate Development said this project is “the largest privately developed real-estate venture in Winnipeg’s history.”

“More Winnipeggers are choosing to live downtown and grants such as these keep the momentum of downtown revitalization going by stimulating private investment,” said  Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton in a press release.

Tax increment financing is a financing tool that governments use to encourage economic growth and development through incremental taxes created by significant new development.  A requirement for TIF support to residential development is that 10 per cent of the units in the residential towers be affordable. The local government is considering removing this requirement for the True North Square project.

Manitoba is “open for business,” said Wharton. He also added that there’s no risk to tay-payers. “These TIF projects protect taxpayers against the risk of losses when developments are delayed or anticipated tax revenues do not materialize… there are no up-front payments and the province only pays from incremental taxes collected.”

According to Colliers International Winnipeg Office Market Report 2018 Q2, Manitoba’s real GDP is expected to grow at a rate of two per cent in 2018 and the $400-million True North Square development is playing a major role in revitalizing Winnipeg’s downtown.

An official grand opening for the plaza is set for September 27.

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