Help Save one of Toronto’s Most Important Cultural Centres

Rising taxes threaten to force tenants out of downtown cultural hub

Rising property taxes threaten to force 140 local artists and non-profit cultural organizations out of a former industrial building turned arts and culture centre in downtown Toronto. 401 Richmond Street West, which is owned by UrbanSpace, has watched its tax bill more than double in the past five years and could jump to as much as $1.29 million in 2020, up from approximately $447,000 in 2012.

A petition has been launched online in an attempt to lobby Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne’s government to step in an change tax policy to keep tenants in the building.

Via Save 401 Richmond at change.org:

The Premier and others in her government need to take action and update provincial tax policy now in order to ensure the preservation of cultural centers like 401 Richmond. The last tax assessment is terrifyingly high — it’s now a matter of great urgency.

While UrbanSpace has absorbed the worst of the increases, tenants have shared some pain. And with taxes projected to go as high as $1.29 million by 2020.

The only way for this address to pay the proposed tax is for the current building to be torn down and a 40-storey tower built to replace it — action needs to be taken immediately.

City Councillor Joe Cressy has been working to help the cause, lobbying to get the provincial government moving a long-term solution to relieve “cultural incubators” of the pressures associated with rising property taxes.

“I’m optimistic, in that we have a real interest expressed at the political level to resolve this,” Cressy told the Toronto Star. “But this has already dragged on too long. And if we drag into September or later, for 401 Richmond it might be too late.”