City considers tax exemption to spur growth

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond wants you to move here and it may be about to sweeten the deal. Under a proposed ordinance the city may offer you no real estate taxes for five years for building a house on a vacant lot in the city's conservation and redevelopment districts, like North Church Hill or Highland Park.

"Really need to increase the opportunity for good quality housing in our most blighted neighborhoods," said Ellen Robertson, Richmond City Council Vice President.

Robertson is spear heading the ordinance. She met with local developers today to get their ideas and to see if the law would actually encourage them to build new homes for the community.

"It certainly will help, it certainly will. Just like the rehabilitation tax credit was passed about 15 years ago encourage folks to come downtown and rehabilitate old buildings. This I believe will serve the same function," said Robin Miller, Miller & Associates.

Existing rundown properties would not be included in the legislation but the hope is by building new houses next to them it will encourage people to fix up abandoned houses.

"Nice infill product that fits the character of the neighborhood that it will certainly improve the curb appeal of the neighborhoods," said Kelvin Hanson, The Hanson Company.

The ultimate goal is to encourage people to move back to the city.

"One of the reasons why people don't live in the city is because the taxes are high so this particular program actually abates their real estate taxes for five years and that's an incentive," said Hanson.

The ordinance is still in a committee, but could end up before the full city council by the end of the fall. If approved as it stands right now, this tax credit would be available in the city until the year 2015.

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