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Financial Incentive Programs

The City of Hamilton offers financial incentive programs in the form of loans and grants to assist with various costs associated with development in Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway, and the commercial corridors as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law. There are also financial incentives for properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Plan provides the basis through which these programs are provided. In addition, municipal development charges are reduced by 85% within a defined area of Downtown Hamilton (as of July 6, 2016 the exemption will be at 80%).  A developer will receive an additional dollar for dollar exemption for 10% of the remaining 15% municipal development charges to be paid if they contribute dollar for dollar 10% of the development charges to be paid to the Downtown Public Art Reserve.

More detailed descriptions and application forms specific to each program can be accessed below:

  • Business Improvement Area Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program, for façade improvements within active Business Improvement Areas (BIAs).
  • Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program, is intended to provide financial assistance for commercial property owners/authorized tenants within Downtown Hamilton, the Community Downtowns of Ancaster, Binbrook, Dundas, Stoney Creek, Waterdown, the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway, and the commercial corridors as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area.
  • Hamilton Tax Increment Grant Program, for the development or rehabilitation of residential and/or commercial land and buildings within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, Business Improvement Areas, the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway and those properties within the City boundary designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.
  • Hamilton Downtown, Barton and Kenilworth Multi-Residential Property Investment Program, for predominantly residential development together with uses accessory to the residential development within Downtown Hamilton, the Barton Village Business Improvement Area and the commercial corridors of Barton Street, east of the Barton Village BIA and along Kenilworth Avenue as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area.
  • Commercial Corridor Housing Loan and Grant Program, to stimulate residential development within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, Business Improvement Areas, the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway, the commercial corridors identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area and those properties within the City boundaries designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.
  • Office Tenancy Assistance Program, for leasehold improvements to office buildings located within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, Business Improvement Areas, the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway and the commercial corridors along Barton Street and Kenilworth Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area.
  • Hamilton Heritage Property Grant Program, for structural/stability work and the conservation and restoration of heritage features of properties that are designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. Eligible properties must be located within: Downtown Hamilton; Community Downtowns; the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway; an active Business Improvement Area; or, be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act and located within the lower city between Highway 403 and the Red Hill Valley Parkway and used for commercial, institutional or multi-residential purposes.
  • Hamilton Heritage Conservation Grant Program, to assist in the on-going conservation of heritage properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act that are not eligible for the Hamilton Heritage Property Grant Program (HHPGP).
  • Barton / Kenilworth Tax Increment Grant Program, for the development or rehabilitation of residential / commercial land and buildings located within the boundaries of the Barton Village Business Improvement Area (BIA), the Barton and Kenilworth commercial corridors and the properties that front on Barton Street between James Street North and Victoria Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law.
  • Barton / Kenilworth Commercial Corridor Building Improvement Grant Program, to support the development of property and the maintenance, functionality, viability, accessibility and aesthetics of existing building stock used for commercial, multi-residential or institutional uses within the boundaries of the Barton Village Business Improvement Area (BIA), the Barton and Kenilworth commercial corridors and the properties that front on Barton Street between James Street North and Victoria Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law.
  • Barton / Kenilworth Planning and Building Fee Rebate Program, to support development of property on Barton and Kenilworth Avenue as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area.

Business Improvement Area Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program

The Business Improvement Area Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program (BIA CPIG) provides financial assistance to commercial property owners and owner-authorized tenants within active  Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) across the City.

The BIA CPIG program will fund eligible façade improvements, limited improvements to interior space as well as barrier-free improvements to commercial properties. For properties that have a street-frontage greater than 25’, the grant is based on $400 per linear foot of frontage to a maximum of $20,000. The maximum matching grant for properties with a street frontage of 25’ or less is $10,000. As a further incentive for corner properties, the City may increase the maximum grant amount to $25,000 to recognize the importance of flankage facades. Artfully designed façade improvements or art pieces placed on private property that can be viewed by the public, may be eligible for an additional $10,000 matching grant.

Application Form and Program Description:

Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program

The Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program (CPIGP) is intended to provide financial assistance for commercial property owners/authorized tenants within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway and the commercial corridors as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area.  The Program aims to improve upon the physical appearance of properties within the areas, achieve quality façade improvements, support commercial property / business owners with limited rehabilitation of interior space and assist in creating a barrier-free and accessible environment.

Maximum grant amount will be paid on a matching basis (50%-50%) to a maximum of $10,000 per property for eligible work under the Program. Corner properties will receive an additional grant of $2,500.

Application Form and Program Description:

Hamilton Tax Increment Grant Program

The intent of the Hamilton Tax Increment Grant Program is to provide an economic catalyst for developing, redeveloping or renovating residential / commercial lands and buildings located within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, the Mount Hope / Airport Gateway, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), and those properties within the City boundary designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

This Program authorizes for each approved grant application, a five year grant, the amount of which is subject to Council approval, in an amount not exceeding the increase in municipal realty taxes.  The increase in municipal realty taxes (City portion only) will be based on either the year in which the building permit that initiated the development / redevelopment was issued or, for properties where the proposed development / redevelopment does not require a building permit, the year in which City Council approved the grant amount, and, the first full year in which the property is reassessed.  The grant shall be an amount which does not exceed 100% of the municipal realty tax increase during year one, 80% in year two, 60% in year three, 40% in year four, and 20% in year five. For purposes of determining the eligible amount of the increase in municipal realty taxes, special charges, including BIA levies, shall be excluded from the calculation.  The grant would reduce the effect of an increase in municipal realty taxes attributable to the differential between the pre-renovation assessment and the post-renovation assessment.

Properties must meet qualifying criteria to be eligible, as outlined in the Hamilton Tax Increment Grant Program description.
Application Form and Program Description:

Hamilton Downtown, Barton and Kenilworth Multi-Residential Property Investment Program

The Hamilton Downtown, Barton and Kenilworth Multi Residential Property Investment Program was developed as a catalyst for stimulating residential development within Downtown Hamilton, the Barton Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) and the commercial corridors along Barton Street, east of the Barton Village BIA and along Kenilworth Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area.  The Program is intended to provide financial assistance for projects that result in predominantly residential development including converting existing commercial space into multiple dwelling units; renovations to existing multiple dwelling units; the creation of a new multiple dwelling on vacant land; together with uses accessory to the residential development.

Application Form and Program Description:

Commercial Corridor Housing Loan and Grant Program

The Commercial Corridor Housing Loan and Grant Program is designed to stimulate residential development within Downtown Hamilton, Hamilton’s Community Downtowns, the Mount Hope / Airport Gateway, active and dormant Business Improvement Areas and “commercial corridors”, as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law, and those properties within the City boundaries designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The Program is intended to provide financial assistance for converting existing built commercial space into residential units, renovations to existing residential units or construction of new units via building additions. The Program is also intended to provide assistance for the costs of creating new residential units on vacant land.

Pre-Application Form and Program Description:

The Commercial Corridor Housing Loan and Grant Program applies to the following Community Improvement Project Areas:

Office Tenancy Assistance Program

The Office Tenancy Assistance Program provides financial assistance to either building owners or tenants for eligible leasehold improvements to office buildings located within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and the commercial corridors along Barton Street, east of the Barton Village BIA and along Kenilworth Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law.  The intent of the Program is to facilitate the increased attractiveness and marketability of the office stock and reduce the office vacancy rate by attracting new office tenants and owner-occupied office uses from outside the City, and to assist existing businesses to expand. The intent of the loan depends on the square foot area and term of lease or owner-occupied status of the office space, to a maximum of $450,000 per application.

Application Form and Program Description:

Hamilton Heritage Property Grant Program

The Hamilton Heritage Property Grant Program is intended to provide financial assistance in the form of a grant for structural / stability work required to conserve and restore heritage features of properties; the conservation and restoration of heritage features of properties; and for heritage studies / reports / assessments for properties that are designated under Parts IV or V of the Ontario Heritage Act. Eligible properties must be located within: Downtown Hamilton; a Community Downtown; the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway, an active* Business Improvement Area within the City of Hamilton; Commercial Corridors as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area; or, be designated under Parts IV or V of the Ontario Heritage Act and located within the lower city between Highway 403 and the Red Hill Valley Parkway and used for commercial, institutional, industrial or multi-residential purposes.

The objective of the Program is to assist in development and re-using heritage properties. City Council values heritage properties as important to the urban revitalization and regeneration. Conservation and restorative initiatives must be consistent with the policies, principles and design themes contained within the Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan, relevant Urban Design Guidelines, regulations contained within the applicable Zoning By-laws as well as any other City Council approved policies/regulations.Application Form and Program Description:

The Hamilton Community Heritage Fund (HCHF), provides interest-free loans to a maximum of $50,000 for restoration of heritage attributes on properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Hamilton Heritage Conservation Grant Program

The Hamilton Heritage Conservation Grant Program is intended to provide financial assistance in the form of matching grants between $1,000 to $5,000 for the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage resources. The objective of the Hamilton Heritage Conservation Grant Program is to assist in the on-going conservation of heritage properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act that are not eligible for the Hamilton Heritage Property Grant Program.

Application Form and Program Description

Barton / Kenilworth Tax Increment Grant Program

The intent of the Barton / Kenilworth Tax Increment Grant Program is to provide an economic catalyst for developing, redeveloping or renovating residential / commercial lands and buildings located within the boundaries of the Barton Village Business Improvement Area (BIA), the Barton and Kenilworth commercial corridors and the properties that front on Barton Street between James Street North and Victoria Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law.

This Program authorizes for each approved grant application, a nine year grant, the amount of which is subject to Council approval, in an amount not exceeding the increase in municipal realty taxes. The increase in municipal realty taxes (City portion only) will be based on either the year in which the building permit that initiated the development / redevelopment was issued or, for properties where the proposed development / redevelopment does not require a building permit, the year in which City Council approved the grant amount, and, the first full year in which the property is reassessed. The grant shall be an amount which does not exceed 100% of the municipal realty tax increase during the first, second, third, fourth and fifth year, 80% in year six, 60% in year seven, 40% in year eight, and 20% in year nine. For purposes of determining the eligible amount of the increase in municipal realty taxes, special charges including B.I.A. levies shall be excluded from the calculation. The grant would reduce the effect of an increase in municipal realty taxes attributable to the differential between the pre-renovation assessment and the post-renovation assessment.

Application Form and Program Description

Barton / Kenilworth Commercial Corridor Building Improvement Grant Program

The Barton / Kenilworth Commercial Corridor Building Improvement Grant Program  was created to support the development of property and the maintenance, functionality, viability, accessibility and aesthetics of existing building stock used for commercial, multi-residential or institutional uses within the boundaries of the Barton Village Business Improvement Area (BIA), the Barton and Kenilworth commercial corridors and the properties that front on Barton Street between James Street North and Victoria Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law.

The Program supports the “Barton and Kenilworth Commercial Corridors Final Recommendations Report” received by City Council at its meeting held September 10, 2014.

Application Form, Program Description and Guidelines

Barton/Kenilworth Planning and Building Fee Rebate Program

The rebate program supports development within the Barton Village Business Improvement Area, the Barton/Kenilworth Commercial Corridors and Properties that front on Barton Street between James Street North and Victoria Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Improvement Project Area. The rebate is for the following fees:

Planning Fees:

  1. Committee of Adjustment Minor Variance Approval (Complex or Routine)
  2. Site Plan Control Application (major or minor) only after issuance of Building Permit

Building Fees:

  1. Minimum Permit Fee
  2. Assembly Occupancies
  3. Residential Occupancies (excluding hotels, motels)
  4. Business and Person Services
  5. Mercantile (Retail – Finished only)
  6. Industrial (excluding parking garages and gas stations)
  7. Mechanical Systems (commercial cooking exhaust system)
  8. Signs

Please contact the Urban Renewal Section at 905-546-2424 Ext. 2755 for more information on the Rebate Fee.

Contact Information:

Hazel Milsome
Co-ordinator of Urban Renewal Incentives
Urban Renewal
Planning and Economic Development Department
City of Hamilton
71 Main Street West, 7th Floor
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5 Canada
Phone: 905-546-2424 x2755
Fax: 905-546-2693
Email: Hazel.Milsome@hamilton.ca

 

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