DBIA Has Mission to Create New Downtown in 2 Years
By 250 News
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 05:21 PM
DBIA Vision for downtown: A-Public market and artists loft; B-Multi use development; C - Downtown Wood Innovation Design Centre; D - Student Housing; E- Expo building; F- Performing Arts Centre; G- Parking Building; H- access to riverfront Heritage Trail; I-Mixed Use development; J-Commonwealth Gardens-seniors housing; K-Commonwealth Health
Prince George, B.C.- The new DBIA in Prince George has presented a vision for the downtown of the city which calls for public-private partnerships, some private investment, and a shared vision with the City of Prince George.
The vision depicts a downtown that has been transformed by a variety of “incentives” for development. The incentives include low development cost charges, guaranteed approval times, and revitalization tax “incentives”. Presenter Heather Oland specifically changed the word from exemptions to “incentives” and says it need not be offered to everyone, perhaps just to the first three developers who get on board, perhaps only to certain sectors but that everyone agrees the fundamental building blocks for the downtown are a university campus ( wood innovation centre) a performing arts centre and housing.
The DBIA strongly supports 20, 30 or 40 year tax exemptions to spark new development. Oland says an empty lot worth $56 thousand today would still generate taxes for the City if the value of improvements to that lot (putting a building on it) were given the tax break. “It’s controversial, but let’s have that public discussion” she told a gathering at a downtown hotel.
The DBIA held a strategic planning session in April of this year and emerged with a Vision ( to create a new downtown), and a mission (to create a new downtown by 2012). That Vision sees the construction of the wood innovation and design centre on land ( former P.G. Hotel property) which the company headed up by the DBIA’s Treasurer Dan McLaren sold to the City of Prince George.
The plan also sees property on the east and west sides of George Street developed for a performing arts centre and a P.G. “expo” centre it would be “A gateway to the downtown” Oland told the group.
The block between Dominion and Quebec streets bounded by 5th and 6th Avenues, would be home to student housing (currently it is home to the Italian club, a bowling alley and a parking lot), while the block at 3rd and George across from the Courthouse would become a market with an artists loft.
Copy courtesy of:Dean Birks Royal LePage Prince George