Bowman signs off on possible $20 million in support of Portage Place transformation

Mayor Brian Bowman says it was “dialogue with my council colleagues” that is behind a possible increase in support to Portage Place’s transformation.

“The total package equals $20 million of support,” and includes Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and other support, said Bowman.

The city of Winnipeg originally planned only $5 million in property tax rebates.

Read more: City of Winnipeg unwilling to pay $20M towards Portage Place redevelopment

Toronto-based Starlight Development Inc. plans to add more than 500 rental suites, community spaces, a pedestrian walkway and a downtown grocery store to the beleaguered mall.

The developer is asking the city, province and feds for help in the form of $20 million each over a five-year construction schedule.

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That money is needed to shore up a $60-million funding gap.

Read more: City may increase funding for Portage Place redevelopment: Winnipeg mayor

Coun. Cindy Gilroy put forward an amendment to the original $5 million motion at council Thursday to increase the city’s offer to $20 million through property tax rebates and other funding.

Mayor Brian Bowman said he signed off on the amendment.

City council will debate the amendment Thursday afternoon.

Read the amended motion here:

The motion comes with caveats on any future city money.

“Any further municipal support may be conditional on the revitalization project including key public amenities such as a community centre with washrooms and an affordable housing component,” Gilroy’s motion reads — the Daniel McIntyre councillor also heads council’s planning, property and development committee.

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Read more: Winnipeg committee greenlights $5M for Portage Place redevelopment — $15M less than requested

Although the province and city have moved to commit funding for the project, the federal government hasn’t.

“It’s something that our government is seriously looking at now through (Western Economic Diversification Canada) and Minister Bains, but right now we are doing our due diligence, we are talking to other governments to try to come up with a solution that works for Starlight and the City of Winnipeg,” said St. Boniface-St. Vital MP Dan Vandal Tuesday, referring to Navdeep Bains, the minister of innovation, science and industry.

“The Government of Canada is aware of Starlight Investments’ request for funding and continues to review it,” a WEDC spokesperson said in an email Wednesday.

The street view looking east at the proposed new development at Portage Place. The province of Manitoba is set to provide nearly $30 million in tax rebates to the Toronto-based developer as part of a new project.
The street view looking east at the proposed new development at Portage Place. The province of Manitoba is set to provide nearly $30 million in tax rebates to the Toronto-based developer as part of a new project. Starlight Investments

Starlight has until Aug. 27 to finish its research phase and ink the final deal to buy the mall — a spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

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But last week, the developer said the city’s $5 million offer could kill the project.

“What we received was something different and a significant discount to what we were anticipating to help make this project work,” said Starlight Investments head of development and construction Joshua Kaufman last Wednesday.

Winnipeg may increase funding for Portage Place development

Winnipeg may increase funding for Portage Place development

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