City considers grant for new Porsche dealership in Vanier

·2 min read
Mark Motors plans to replace two existing car dealerships at the corner of Montreal Road and St. Laurent Boulevard with a new Porsche dealership. (City of Ottawa/Q9 Planning and Design - image credit)
Mark Motors plans to replace two existing car dealerships at the corner of Montreal Road and St. Laurent Boulevard with a new Porsche dealership. (City of Ottawa/Q9 Planning and Design - image credit)

Ottawa's finance and economic development committee will consider a $2.9-million city grant next week for a future luxury car dealership in the Vanier area, under a program aimed at stimulating local businesses on Montreal Road.

Mrak Holdings Inc., also known as Mark Motors, plans to replace the Audi and Alfa Romeo/Maserati dealerships across from Notre Dame Cemetery with a new, two-storey Porsche building that city staff describe in a report as "world-class."

The new building would face the busy corner of Montreal Road and St. Laurent Boulevard. It's projected to cost $17 million to build, with the owners paying $1.7 million to the City of Ottawa for development fees and building permits.

After it's constructed, the owners' property taxes would soar from $25,625 per year to $355,620.

The city targeted Vanier for a community improvement plan in 2019. That designation, a tool allowed by the provincial government, allows the city to offer grants of up to 75 per cent of the increase in property taxes as an incentive to get owners to upgrade their properties and boost business.

Mrak Holdings would be eligible for a grant of up to $2,910,171 over 10 years, and its application goes before the finance committee Tuesday for approval.

'Flagship' facility

Montreal Road in Vanier is currently undergoing a major $64-million reconstruction. The hydro lines have been buried, and its water mains, sewers and road are being replaced.

"The new facility will represent an important gateway to the Quartier Vanier shopping district and showcase the city's newly upgraded streetscape," wrote city staff in their report, adding the project will create jobs.

The executive director of the Quartier Vanier business improvement area, meanwhile, says it might not seem ideal to have a car dealership on a main street, but the building will be "beautiful" and a "flagship".

Nathalie Carrier said the Mrak family owns the dealerships that have been in that location for years, and they've been great community and business leaders.

"We're happy to have them," she said

Montreal Road isn't the only part of the city deemed eligible for community improvement grants.

The City of Ottawa has also targeted Bells Corners in the west, St. Joseph Boulevard in Orléans, and has a community improvement plan for the wider Orléans area aimed at luring big employers.