Regina to look at new office building tax break

The City of Regina is looking at a new tax break to encourage developers to build more office towers downtown.

The City of Regina is looking at a new tax break to encourage developers to build more office buildings downtown.

A proposal going to the city's executive committee on Wednesday recommends a 20 per cent property tax exemption for three years for new Class A and Class B office buildings, which are the newer, better-located properties. 

Regina has the lowest office vacancy rate in Canada, the report says. For Class A buildings, it's 0.86 per cent, while for Class B buildings, it's 0.28 per cent.

According to Avison Young, a company that studies office vacancy rates, a "balanced market" has a vacancy rate of between 5 per cent and 8 per cent.

City staff are proposing that the tax exemption policy stay in place until the vacancy rate hits 5 per cent.

If city council approves the new tax break, it will mean less money for city coffers in the short term, but more in the long term as the assessment base increases, the report says.

The city hall report didn't say how much money is involved.

Meanwhile, the vacancy rate situation is expected to improve next year when the Tower III building at 1870 Hamilton St. opens. 

The 20-storey building is going to be the Saskatchewan home to the Mosaic potash company. Under a separate deal, council has already agreed to give the new building a five-year property tax holiday.