The Manitoba government will invest up to $11.9 million through tax increment financing to support Phase 1 of the Railside development project, a mixed-use development that will complement and build on The Forks’ unique character and amenities, Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler announced today at The Forks.
“The Forks is one of Manitoba’s significant cultural and tourism amenities, and draws millions of visitors per year,” said Eichler. “The new Railside development will create an even more inviting atmosphere at The Forks that will encourage visitors to explore and discover.”
The proposed mixed-use development is based on very substantial public consultation and includes a number of unique residential buildings with approximately 339 residential units, main floor retail and services as well as public piazzas and park-like spaces among the buildings.
“This will contribute to the continued evolution – the last 14 acres – of The Forks site,” said Paul Jordan, CEO of The Forks North Portage. “Not only will the introduction of this new, mixed-use development be a noteworthy public space in North America, this is a step in fulfilling our mission statement and a step toward giving the community what it wants to see here, and that’s high-quality, accessible public spaces.”
This partnership with The Forks Renewal Corporation is expected to provide substantial economic benefits for Manitoba, the minister said. The provincial tax increment financing leverages significant private investment including an estimated $111 million in direct private-sector investment, $10.7 million in retail sales tax and expenditures of $12.6 million per year by commercial operations with annual residential rent revenue of $7.5 million.
The 5.7-acre Railside property (Phase 1) is owned by The Forks Renewal Corporation and has remained undeveloped since the initial reclamation of the Canadian National Railway East Yards in the 1980s. The Railside lands are in a critical location that links the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and The Forks to downtown Winnipeg. Eichler noted the Railside development aligns with Manitoba’s Economic Growth Action Plan by creating an inviting village atmosphere that draws people in and encourages them to explore and discover, as well as with the government’s mandate to increase tourism and economic growth in the province.
Tax increment financing (TIF) is a financing tool that governments use to encourage economic growth and development through incremental tax revenues created by significant new developments. In December 2018, the Manitoba government announced the TIF framework as part of its Economic Growth Action Plan focusing on economic growth, value for money and limiting risk, which will strengthen the use of TIF as a tool to support economic growth and benefit municipalities and communities across Manitoba. The TIF framework will also assist with the Manitoba Works goal of creating 40,000 private-sector jobs over the next four years.