A proposal by the mayor of Plateau-Mont-Royal to motivate property owners on major commercial streets, most notably the Main, to secure tenants, could generate more restaurants to the area. La Presse reports today that Luc Ferrandez wants to hit landlords of vacant spaces with a special tax. Find a tenant, and the tax magically expires.
The amount of the tax has not been decided. Plateau, and Montreal, commercial property owners pay hefty rates as it is. La Presse writes that the business tax rate is four times more than residential tax rates in the city. A home in the Plateau valued at $500,000 paid $4,400 in 2015 in municipal tax versus $19,000 for a commercial building of equal value. Until the special tax comes into force, the Plateau has decided to pressure landlords in other ways.
"Since the start of summer, vacant premises have been targeted. We check if the garbage came out on the wrong day, if there are problems with filth. Inspectors insure the space is well-locked at all times. Any violation of the rules leads to a ticket. By increasing our vigilance, we want to send the message not to keep spaces vacant because it will cost more in the long run," affirms Ferrandez.
The Main's merchant association, the Société de développement commercial du boulevard Saint-Laurent, is amenable to the borough's new strategy. "There are property owners who do not live in Montreal and they do not come to see the state of their building. At least with a ticket you receive it at your home address, and it can give you the motivation to go see for yourself the problem," declares Tasha Morizio, the executive director of the association.