401 Richmond Threatened by Massive Tax Hike
QUEEN’S PARK – NDP GTA Issues Critic Cheri DiNovo called on the Wynne Liberals to take action to save 401 Richmond, a downtown Toronto arts and culture hub at risk of closure from massive property tax increases.
“Late last year, tenants at 401 Richmond in Toronto received an incredible shock. Their property taxes were about to triple, threatening this cultural hub, which provides below-market rents to arts organizations and creative industries in downtown Toronto,” explained DiNovo during question period. “Taxes were tripling because MPAC does not assess properties like 401 Richmond based on the current use of the property, but on the value of a condo tower MPAC imagines might stand in its place.”
The City of Toronto has asked for a new property tax class to apply to important community hubs like 401 Richmond, but needs the provincial government to enable the new tax class. Property values are currently assessed by MPAC based on what the organization calls the ‘highest and best use’ of the property.
“The ‘highest and best use’ of 401 Richmond is not to become another condo tower. By providing a home for Toronto’s artists and creative industries, 401 Richmond is already serving its highest and best use,” said DiNovo.
DiNovo, the MPP for Parkdale-High Park, urged Finance Minister Sousa to work with the City of Toronto to protect important venues like 401 Richmond.
“Toronto has specifically asked this minister for the ability to protect such cultural hubs without having to resort to ad hoc property tax workarounds, which is what they’ve done,” said DiNovo. “Will the minister finally agree to create a new property tax class for cultural hubs and heritage buildings like 401 Richmond?”