Tax rebates for $400 million Portage Place redevelopment not unusual: urban planner

A new program from Manitoba’s provincial government is expected to help support a nearly $400-million investment in Portage Place mall by Toronto developer Starlight Investments.

The program, Manitoba Works Capital Incentive, will use incremental education property tax rebates to support companies making a significant investment in the province.

Dr. Jino Distasio, a professor and urban planning expert with the University of Winnipeg, told 680 CJOB that government involvement in a project like this isn’t unusual or unexpected.

“All three levels of government have been involved since the beginning of Portage Place back in the late ’80s when it was first developed,” he said.

“When development comes to the city on this scale and they’re being asked to include community components, public spaces, I think they’re always looking for an investment. I think if you’re investing $400 million, you’re looking to maximize your return, so I’m not surprised.”

Plans call for the aging downtown mall to be “retrofitted” with a pair of 20-storey residential towers, new shopping and office spaces, as well as a pedestrian-friendly courtyard and indoor walkway.


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