Maple Ridge downtown incentives spark digging and building

More than $22 million in construction projects have been approved or are about to be approved, sustainability manager Laura Benson told council Monday.

An interactive map on the district’s website gives details about each project.

It’s not even completed its first year, but already Maple Ridge’s incentive program is getting shovels in the ground and helping realize the goal of a densified downtown.

More than $22 million in construction projects have been approved or are about to be approved, sustainability manager Laura Benson told council Monday.

The program took effect Jan. 10 and already 24 projects either have received building permits, or are in the preliminary rezoning or development permit process.

She showed council an interactive map on the District of Maple Ridge’s website, giving details about each project.

The new Fiat dealership on Lougheed Highway and 228th Street participated in the incentive program is already finished, while a new four-storey condo building at the foot of 224th Street, valued at $4 million, is well underway.

Other projects, such as the $2-million renovation of Haney Place Mall and $1.9-million reconstruction of the east end of the mall for Thrifty Foods, are also participating in the incentive program.

“I think this is a huge success for this program,” said Coun. Craig Speirs.

“That’s huge in a year.”

The program has to be kept going, he added.

It offers a range of attractions, such as the district paying up to $75,000 to cover part of the development charges on a green, four-storey apartment project, to more than 50-per-cent discounts for building permits, to fast-tracking projects, to exemption from property taxes for either three or six years.

The incentives available depend on whether it’s a residential or commercial project, if it’s a four or five-story building, the location in the downtown and if it’s a green, LEED-certified project.

Chief administrator Jim Rule told council that the program is working.

“You can see tangible results.”

Once residential capacity is added, commercial development will follow.

According to the map, 455 new condos or apartments are about to be added to the town centre, in the first year of the program, assuming those at the rezoning and permit stages move on to actual construction.

While the map says the blue dots are in the building-permit application stage, many projects have been completed, Benson pointed out.

“Throwing a map out there so people can see what’s happening is pretty neat. Keeps that momentum going.”

She said one encouragement for investors was the district’s own spending in the core area over several years, adding up to about $100 million.

• View online presentation, click here.

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