Sunday, June 3, 2012

City gives almost $600,000 to developer for environmental cleanup

City councillors approved tax rebates Monday totalling $599,318 to help a developer pay for the environmental cleanup of old factories on Breithaupt Street.

Perimeter Development Corp. spent more than $1.6 million to remove contaminants in and around the old industrial buildings at 51 Breithaupt St., 20-24 Breithaupt St., 2 Moore Ave., 12 Moore Ave. and 47 Wellington St.

The funds will be paid in three annual installments — the first two at $228,263 and the third at $142,792. The funds are not paid until the project is complete and the property has been reassessed for tax purposes.

The financial help ... is part of a program supported by both the City of Kitchener and the Region of Waterloo to help redevelop former industrial sites, which are often contaminated. The region will provide the developer with $953,000 as its share of the tax-rebate grants.

The city collected about $27,000 a year in property taxes from the owners when it was an old, empty factory. With 174,415 square feet of industrial-chic-office space, the city will collect an estimated $228,000 a year in property taxes when the project is finished.

“Just over a nine-times increase,” said Terry Boutilier, the city’s expert on redeveloping former industrial sites.

These sites are called brownfields. Some sit empty for years, becoming magnets for vandalism, graffiti, vagrants, fires and sources of migrating pollutants.

“The community receives an environmental benefit through the cleaned-up contaminated site, and that’s in addition to a higher property-tax-revenue stream and all the spinoff benefits,” Boutilier said.

Councillors heaped praise on Perimeter Development for its stunning renovation and restoration of the old factories on Breithaupt Street.
by Terry Bender
The Record
May 28, 2012

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