Mayor Jim Watson, however, called approving the grant “a very good deal for the taxpayer.” The local Mrak family, owners of Mark Motors, is the first candidate for a two-year City of Ottawa program to revitalize Montreal Road in the Vanier neighborhood of Ottawa.
If Mark Motors builds a flagship Porsche store on Montreal Road and Saint-Laurent Boulevard, city staff predict the site’s property taxes will reach $ 355,000 per year, 14 times more than what owners are currently paying. . In return for the modernization of the property, the city would pay the Mraks a subsidy of up to 75% of the difference over 10 years.
Watson said it would give the city $ 1 million up front if the Porsche store was built.
“This is not a bailout for a luxury car company,” Watson told reporters. “It is putting more money into the city coffers so that we can provide better social services, more social housing, more infrastructure.
The Porsche dealership would create 20 more jobs than the 40 at the existing luxury car dealership on the site, the owners said. City staff said they hoped five or six more such requests will be submitted in the coming years to serve as a “magnet” for renewal at Vanier.
“This is the kind of investment we hope to see more of along Montreal Road,” said Don Herweyer, director of economic development and long-term planning for the city.
Porsche no gateway to Vanier, locals say
Brother and sister Michael and Lisa Mrak told the committee that they grew up nearby and wanted to invest in the area.
The Quartier Vanier Business Improvement Zone supported the family’s community involvement and said their investment was a sign of confidence in the neighborhood’s future.
“Why can’t Vanier also have beautiful things? added Quartier Vanier president Mark Kaluski, who said the Porsche brand name should not be relevant in deciding whether or not to approve the application.
The site is just beyond the Vanier neighborhood, but is in its business improvement area and is part of the section of Montreal Road that the city has designated for such grants.
Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Rawlson King, supported the Community Improvement Grant and noted that it was created to broaden the tax base and was “designed not to dip into public funds.”
Sam Hersh saw it differently in the public delegation he gave.
“Money that is supposed to be taxed but not taxed is wasted money that could have been used,” Hersh argued.
“For me, that equates to providing social assistance to a millionaire,” said resident Philippe Denault.
He rejected the city staff’s assessment that the Porsche dealership would be an appropriate “gateway” to Vanier, saying it was “out of touch with reality.”
Several delegations said that a car dealership, no matter how good-looking, was not in line with the city’s goal of creating pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. Benches outside a Porsche showroom do not constitute public space, they said.
Given the unanimous support of the finance and economic development committee, the Mraks’ grant application is expected to receive full city council approval on May 26.