Downtown Guelph Community Improvement Plan (CIP) Grants

The Downtown CIP supports the implementation of the Downtown Secondary Plan and is focused on implementing the City’s economic development strategy. It contains several grants, such as the tax increment-based grants, the minor downtown activation grant and the façade improvement and feasibility study grants.

As a result of the façade improvement and feasibility study grants currently under review, the 2015 CIP will consist strictly of the Downtown Minor Activation Grant. The 2015 program launch for the Downtown Minor Activation Grant is schedule for Thursday, May 7, 2015. The deadline for the applications is Wednesday, June 3, 2015.

To schedule a pre-application meeting, please contact 519-822-1260 extension 3360 or downtown@guelph.ca.

Frequently asked questions

What is a community improvement plan?

Municipalities may create community improvement plans according to Ontario’s Planning Act to facilitate improvements within targeted areas. These plans allow municipalities to create financial or other types of tools, or direct capital investments – such as tax increment-based grants – towards achieving community goals.

What is a tax increment-based grant?

Tax increment-based grants are tools to attract private-sector investment and stimulate development in targeted areas of the City. They are based on the difference between property taxes collected on a property before development and the estimated taxes that will be collected after development. They are reconfirmed against actual taxes before any grant monies are paid. Following is an example of how the difference, which amounts to the tax
increment-based grant, is calculated.

Property taxes post-development – $400,000

Property taxes pre-development – $200,000

Tax increment-based grant – $200,000

Why is the City promoting tax increment-based grants?

They help to achieve Guelph’s community improvement goals of reducing the number of contaminated sites in the City, maintaining more heritage buildings and renewing Guelph’s downtown. They also contribute to the growth of the City’s assessment base by attracting real private sector projects.

Are projects that are eligible for a grant automatically approved by Council?

No. Applying for grants is a separate process from seeking Council Planning approval for projects. All projects, regardless of whether they are eligible for a grant, must go through the City’s planning and development approvals process and seek Council approval where required.

Do other municipalities offer tax increment-based grants?

Yes. Tax increment-based grants are a tool used to achieve community goals by St.
Catharines, Oshawa, Waterloo, Cambridge, Kitchener, Chatham-Kent, Thunder Bay,
Kingston, London, Barrie, and Hamilton.

Do tax increment-based grants provide tax breaks or tax relief to property-owners?

No. Property-owners pay all property taxes while projects are underway. The City pays the grants after projects are completed and re-assessed, and property-owners continue to pay all property taxes based on re-assessed property values through the grant period.

What is the tax increment-based grant for brownfields?

Guelph’s tax increment-based grant for brownfields pays property owners 80 per cent of the of the tax increment, in instalments, over a maximum of 10 years. The remaining 20 per cent of the tax increment is used to fund other Brownfield CIP related programs.

What is the tax increment-based grant for heritage buildings?

The Heritage Redevelopment Grant supports the redevelopment of designated heritage properties and is activated through the Ontario Heritage Act.

What is the Downtown Guelph Community Improvement Plan?

This plan supports the implementation of the Downtown Secondary Plan and is focused on implementing the City’s economic development strategy. It contains several grants, such as the tax increment-based grants, the minor downtown activation grant and the façade improvement and feasibility study grants.

What is the Downtown Secondary Plan?

A. This Official Plan Amendment provides the physical vision for accommodating the Growth Plan targets for the Urban Growth Centre of adding 3,000 units and 1,500 new jobs to the existing downtown area. The Plan identifies the need to achieve more parks and trails, maintain our distinctive heritage properties, expand our cultural events, improve our transit experience but most significantly, attract private-sector investment in commercial and
residential development. Tax increment-based grants for downtown, heritage properties and brownfields are important tools for triggering this private-sector investment.

What is the downtown major activation grant?

The major downtown activation grant is a tax increment-based grant for major redevelopment projects involving significant redevelopment for commercial and/or residential buildings.

What is the downtown minor downtown activation grant?

The minor downtown activation grant is not a tax increment-based grant. It is for mid-size renovation projects, such as vacant and underutilized downtown properties. Grants may be awarded for 30 per cent of a project’s capital costs, up to a maximum of $120,000.

How much has Council approved in 2012 for the minor downtown activation grant?

Council has approved $130,000 for these grants.

Minor Downtown Activation Grant

The Minor Downtown Activation Grant promotes the building redevelopment and rehabilitation in Downtown Guelph. It is for mid-size renovation projects within vacant and underutilized downtown properties. Grants may be awarded for 30 per cent of a project’s capital costs, up to a maximum of $120,000 per municipal address. A minimum of two residential units or 200 square metres to 799 square metres of office/commercial space per project is required. Repairs to existing vacant and/or underutilized properties are eligible. Businesses within the Downtown Guelph Community Improvement Plan Area, can apply for a grant in order to:

  • Upgrade to the mechanical and electrical systems
  • Installation of safety and fire protection systems
  • Structural upgrades
  • Upgrade and installation of windows
  • Accessibility improvements
  • New technologies (e.g. telecommunications)
  • Building Insulation
  • Consultant Fees
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Carpentry
  • Masonry
  • HVAC
  • Interior renovations
  • Parkland dedication contributions
  • Municipal planning development applications and building permit fees

How to Apply

Checklist

• Completed Minor Downtown Activation Grant application form - PDF / Word
• Pre-application meeting with Downtown Renewal Office

For more information

Downtown Renewal Office
Telephone: 519-822-1260, extension 3360
Email: downtown@guelph.ca

Major Downtown Activation Grant

Program has currently met its funding limits. Please contact the Downtown Renewal Office for further information.

The Major Downtown Activation Grant is currently under review.

The Major Downtown Activation Grant is a tax increment-based grant for major redevelopment projects involving significant redevelopment for commercial and/or residential buildings. Tax increment-based grants are tools to attract private-sector investment and stimulate development in targeted areas of the City. They are based on the difference between property taxes collected on a property before development and the estimated taxes that will be collected after development. They are reconfirmed against actual taxes before any grant monies are paid. A minimum of eight residential units or 800 square metres of office/commercial space per project is required. Eligible costs may include:

  • Parkland Dedication contributions
  • Municipal planning and building permit fees
  • Off-site infrastructure improvement costs (underground services including relocation, pavement, sidewalk, curb & gutter, lighting, intersection improvement, and parking) but exclude costs that are not routinely required for servicing the site.
  • Construction cost premium for the provision of underground parking or structured spaces vs. surface parking
  • Construction cost premium for making development ‘District Energy Ready’

For more information

Downtown Renewal Office
Telephone: 519-822-1260, extension 3360
Email: downtown@guelph.ca

 

Last Updated: May 1, 2015. Broken links or incorrect information? Let us know!