New England hotel granted 10 years tax free

Tax exemption encourages renovations

After years of vacancy, the top three floors above the old ice cream shop on Government Street will soon be filled with the help of a significant tax exemption from the City of Victoria.

Le Fevre and Co. bought the historic building at 1312-1314 Government St. and is planning to renovate the old New England hotel to meet today’s earthquake standards. On Thursday city council approved a 10-year tax exemption to help compensate for the cost of the seismic upgrades, estimated at $400,000.

Over the decade of taxes foregone, the city will lose out on an estimated $350,677. The city’s tax-exemption program launched in 1998. Since then, 22 building renovations have qualified for the exemptions, contributing to the addition of 538 residential units downtown. The latest addition to the program promises 21 residential units above ground-floor retail.