The city stands firmly behind the downtown plan which includes the current construction on Victoria Street, selling prime real estate known as Esplanade lands, and further revitalization projects planned for next year.
“We are changing downtown,” said Mayor Dieter Bogs at the Governance and Operations Committee (GOC) meeting Monday.
“It’s not a matter of driving in and out as quickly as you can. It’s going to change and we want people to start staying downtown longer.”
Earlier in the day, the city released a statement offering to sell two key properties on the Esplanade for development purposes.
“We are putting the property up for sale and we have already worked with two developers to bring more people downtown,” explained Bogs at the GOC.
Those opportunities didn’t work out, but the city continues to seek proposals from developers to purchase and build up the heart of downtown Trail, Bogs added.
The properties are two city-owned lots currently used for parking, and span almost 3,000 square-metres from Spokane Street to Helena Street, fronting the Columbia River.
“Open up your wallets and send us a proposal,” said Coun. Sean Mackinlay, GOC chair.
“The sale and subsequent development of the Esplanade properties will contribute to council’s goal of increasing the vibrancy and livability of the downtown area.”
An additional incentive for potential developers is the opportunity to apply for a tax exemption from the city related to a bylaw council enacted earlier this year to encourage investment in the city’s core.
Properties owners who commit to new construction or substantial renovations are eligible for tax exemptions for terms of up to 10 years. The bylaw “freezes” property taxes where construction and renovations are undertaken at current set values.
“There has never been a better time to invest here,” said Bogs, adding, “We are excited to see what other may envision for these riverfront lots.”