Katz Offers Incentive to Owners of Surface Parking Lots

Mayor Sam Katz speaks during a news conference in a parking lot on the corner of Donald Street and Ellice Avenue on Wednesday, October 13, 2010. (MAURICE BRUNEAU / CHRISD.CA)

Mayor Sam Katz unveiled Wednesday an incentive to redevelop the city’s 140 downtown surface parking lots to make Winnipeg streets safer and more appealing.

The incentive would help to eliminate “dead spaces” between establishments, which Katz says can be a magnet for crime.

Property taxes for lot owners who choose to convert their space into a commercial property would be frozen for five years. A lot assessed at $200,000 would be paying $2,000 in municipal property tax — developing the lot into a 2,000,000 property would be dealt $20,000 in taxes. A tax increase would be phased in over the next three years.

Katz also said he would like to see the $24 million made from the sale of the Winnipeg Square Parkade go towards improvements to city-owned parkades and the construction of three new multi-storey parking structures.

Last week, mayoral challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis unveiled her own plan for the city’s downtown surface parking lots.