Winnipeg city council sweetens the deal for Portage Place redevelopment
WINNIPEG -- In a last-ditch effort, the pot has been sweetened on the floor of Winnipeg City Hall for the Portage Place redevelopment.
In a narrow nine-to-seven vote on Thursday, Winnipeg city council agreed to $20 million in tax subsidies and cash for the Portage Place redevelopment project.
It's a huge jump from the $5 million tax grant the mayor’s executive policy committee agreed to last week.
On Wednesday a motion increased that to $11.3 million over 20 years plus $8.3 million in cash for streetscaping, a proposed community space, washrooms and transit upgrades, as well as $400,000 worth of permit and planning fees for a total $20 million contribution.
The authors of that motion, Councillor Cindy Gilroy and Mayor Brian Bowman, say they are looking to support the project.
"We are making it to that $20 million ask that they wanted," Gilroy said.
It’s unclear if Starlight will accept those terms.
Bowman spoke about the changes during a media availability on Thursday.
"We're trying to show support for a transformative project for the City of Winnipeg and so the councillors have been having pretty extensive dialogue," he said. "We're trying to find ways that we can support the project."
Bowman added, "It is significant. I think folks should recognize that we've stepped up – the only level of government that is even contemplating with this amendment, cash assistance for the project."
Starlight Investments is asking all three levels of government for $20 million for the $400 million project which will include adding more than 500 rental units.
Starlight representatives warned councillors that time is running out, as the company’s due diligence period to finalize the sale of the mall ends August 27.
Some councillors voted against the deal over concerns this is being rushed. Some questioned why this company is getting millions in subsidies for this project.
Following the vote, a spokesperson for Starlight said the council decision is encouraging.