“The City of Hamilton offers 12 different grant and financial loan programs to support the revitalization of strategic urban commercial districts by minimizing financial barriers to, and stimulating new private sector investment in, under-utilized commercial residential and mixed-use properties.
“Hamilton has been a leader in creating targeting municipal incentives that have delivered tremendous results for our city,” says Judy Lam, manager, commercial districts and small business.
“Our approach has served as a model for other communities looking to incentivize desirable revitalization.”
Redeveloped properties means Hamilton is growing its property assessment and municipal tax base, but also increasing the desirability and vibrancy of its commercial districts and surrounding areas with new residents, employees, and customers.
Among the primary incentive programs is the Revitalizing Hamilton Tax Increment Grant (RHTIG). The standard incentive provides a grant to the applicant to cover the increase in municipal taxes that is reduced by 25 per cent a year over four years. A new enhanced grant stays at 100 per cent for the whole four years if a project satisfies environmental sustainability requirements or will create affordable rental housing.
Since RHTIG began in 2004, $11.7 million has been granted to 41 projects with a total construction value of more than $328 million. In other words, for every dollar invested, the city has leveraged $26 in private investment. The redevelopment assisted through the grant programs have also resulted in a tax increase of $10.1 million. This increase will be realized annually.
Another crucial incentive program is the Commercial Vacancy Assistance. This pilot program is aimed at minimizing commercial vacancies arising during or in the immediate recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program provides grants ($5,000 for leases between three to six months and $10,000 for leases six months or longer) for permanent interior improvements that support the establishment of a new permanent or pop-up commercial business in a currently vacant street-level or below grade commercial space.
Finally, the Start-up and Office Tenant Attraction (SOTA) program provides 0% interest loans to property owners or tenants undertaking eligible leasehold improvements to office spaces. In addition, start-up businesses are further supported with the potential for a portion of their loan to be forgiven. SOTA is reducing office vacancy rates in eligible commercial areas and attracting new and expanding businesses to Hamilton.
So far, the program has committed to 10 loans totalling $1.5 million. That has resulted in a construction value of $7.8 million and total new or expanded office space of 99,329 square feet.
More information available at investinhamilton.ca.