Development News, February 2021

Downtown Housing Incentive Program

A key component of the Downtowns Master Plan is focused on increasing residential housing within the downtown cores. The Housing Incentive Program is the result of recommendations made within the Downtowns Master Plan.

Increasing housing density within downtown cores has been a long-term goal of the City as a means of supporting the businesses located in our two distinctive downtowns and this has been reinforced by the consultant that prepared the redevelopment report for council.

The intent of this incentive is to

“financially assist qualified property owners and investors to construct self-contained dwelling units in the BIAs”

To increase the potential for residential development that would benefit the two municipal BIAs, the City created unique Residential Catchment Areas (RCAs) for both the Downtown Newcastle Business District BIA and the Historic Chatham New multi-unit residential developments within the boundaries of the respective RCA would potentially qualify to apply for funding under this new incentive program. The program can provide funding for up to $10,000.00 per unit created to qualified developers and property owners. While there are conditions that apply under the funding guidelines, any project accepted for the subsidy would have the approved funding payable upon its completion.

The application process must take place prior to the commencement of work and both new construction and renovation projects are eligible to apply. The key component of the program is the creation of new rental units so, renovations of existing rental units are ineligible while a renovation project that creates additional units is eligible under the program.

The application process begins by contacting the program administrator at the Department of Economic Development & Tourism of the City of Miramichi.

During the initial interview and discussion, the program guidelines will be reviewed in detail to ensure a proper understanding of the goals of the program and the expectations and timelines that are important to both the developer and the Department.

If the proposed project meets the broad guidelines and intent of the program, the developer will receive guidance as to when an application can be submitted and what documentation will be required in order for the project application to move forward to the next stage in the approval process.

From the initial contact with the Department, the application process can take from two to four months before a letter of offer can be issued to the developer. This timeline is completely dependent on what level of planning the developer has reached prior to the initial meeting. Needless to say, “shovel-ready” projects will proceed more quickly than those that are merely in the conceptual stage of development.

For more information on this program contact: Paul McGraw.

“Miramichi’s downtowns and waterfronts shall host an authentic urban environment that communicates Miramichi’s identity through its historical and cultural character.”

This Month's Q&A on Economic Development

Q: Why does the City provide grants to businesses and developers?

A: From an economic development perspective, grants to businesses and developers can have a two-fold purpose. First, they can be an effective tool for the Department of Economic Development & Tourism to use in business attraction and retention. This, in turn, can not only provide stability in existing employment but also create new employment opportunities for residents of the Miramichi Region. In some cases, grants assisting existing businesses allow them to become more competitive in a global market and assist them in expanding their product or service offering.

Secondly, grants do create a return on investment (ROI) for the City. ROI can reflect both a community return and financial return. Community return on investment can be more employment opportunities for residents, better product, or service offerings as well as an increase in community pride. This in turn creates a greater sense of place for visitors and can in and of itself attract new residents to the City. The financial return for the City can be reflected in an increase in tax assessment base which produces a revenue increase through additional property tax. For example, a new commercial building with an assessed value of $2.5 million would produce approximately $65,000.00 annually in new municipal property taxes.