Saint John developer pitches building incentives
City could lose new buildings to Kennebecasis Valley without financial help, developer says
A Saint John developer says the city will lose new residential construction to the Kennebecasis Valley unless it reintroduces building incentives.
Bob Darling of North Star Holdings said it costs a lot more money to develop homes inside city limits.
Saint John requires developers to install curbs, sewers and storm-sewers to new buildings. He said those requirements add too much money to a home built in the city.
He said homes in the Kennebecasis Valley fetch more money and development costs are lower.
Darling is proposing a $6,000 rebate be paid to developers over five years after the home is sold.
It's just a way that the city can stimulate growth in a direct and positive way and use the developer's money to do it.- Bob Darling
The money would come from a share of property tax revenue generated by the home.
"The developer pays the costs upfront and gets a little bit of the difference back from the city over a period of five years,” he said.
Darling's proposal would see the developer rebated $2,000 in the first year and then receive annual rebates of $1,000 until the limit is reached.
Multi-unit developments would qualify for a $4,000 rebate, per unit, to be spread over three years.
Darling’s proposal is outlined in a letter included in the agenda for Monday night’s city council meeting.
Darling said there would be no need for the city to budget money in advance under his plan.
"It's just a way that the city can stimulate growth in a direct and positive way and use the developer's money to do it,” he said.
Darling said the city needs to put the incentives in place quickly. He said he believes the region is about to experience a building boom.
There are new buildings going up in some parts of Saint John.
On Friday, workers for Galbraith Construction were preparing footings for garden homes in west Saint John.
Ben Plume, a project manager, said the company's next project likely will not be in the city.
"It's tough for us to get our money out. We have to charge a certain amount for the house,” he said.
Plume said this construction project might not be taking place if these homes were not grandfathered for incentives from an earlier city program, that has since been cancelled.