DVDC manager Susan Thompson cited a recent example of a Sudbury-based developer who undertook a $ 12-million residential building project in Hamilton because the city offered up a $5-million, five-year interest-free loan under its financial incentive program.
But restrictive language prevents the incentives from being used for residential, structured parking, or multi-use mixed projects like the kind the DVDC is proposing.
Although the Master Plan calls for three structured parking facilities, Thompson said the DVDC envisions the projects being smaller in scale and including commercial and residential components, so that more of a balance is brought to the downtown, and the building itself will be more aesthetically pleasing than a staid, multi-level parking structure.
Thompson said a $200,000 surplus from parking revenues--the DVDC used past budget numbers to reach the figure--could be a potential source of funding for any incentives the city might offer.
In the meantime, thanks to some funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Corp., the DVDC
is going ahead with a new, multi-media marketing campaign that includes improving its website.
In order to get city council on board, DVDC has met individually with councillors to prioritize expenditures in what Thompson calls the city's historic core.
The problems seem to arise when the DVDC and others offer solutions to downtown issues.
Thompson says the DVDC is focused on securing residential investment, working to clear hurdles like limited parking, and on creating incentives to help make residential conversion projects viable for the project sector, such as renovations to upper stories of existing downtown buildings.
The DVDC is working through one phase of the streetscape that will be a demonstration project on Durham Street.