Edmonton councillors endorse exception to heritage resource funding limit with $743K targeted for Brighton Block redevelopment

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If approved following a full council vote Monday, the $743,000 grant will be funded through The Quarters community revitalization levy rather than through the city’s depleting heritage resources reserve. This levy, dating back to 2010, allows the city to borrow against future projected property tax revenues to help pay for infrastructure necessary to spur new development in The Quarters area of Downtown. The levy currently sits at $28.5 million with projected revenue of $160 million by 2029.

Ken Cantor, president of Brighton Block developer Primavera Development Group, told Postmedia Thursday the proposed funding will provide a wave of relief for the company that has already paid about $15 million for the project. Cantor said he’s pleased to see support from councillors in retaining and restoring the city’s historic buildings.

“Three quarters of a million dollars is a big commitment from the city’s perspective,” he said following the committee meeting. “It will provide us some relief. I think it says something very important to the city at large that we do need to value our historic structures.”

Cantor said the funding will be used to recover some already absorbed costs to help the business stay afloat. With the structure of the building complete, the next step is to retain tenants for the 35,000-square-foot space, which Cantor said has proven challenging amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though the historic site had a significant amount of damage to overcome, Cantor said the extensive rehabilitation was well worth it and he is looking forward to welcoming Edmontonians.

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