After nearly three decades in business a downtown Calgary restaurant has closed its doors permanently.
“After serving our clients for the past 29 years, Abruzzo Ristorante has chosen to close due to continual increased operating costs, particularly ever-increasing city property taxes facing businesses in the downtown sector,” read an automated email reply to its online booking system.
“We sincerely thank you for your patronage.”
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he’s surprised by the restaurant’s decision as tax bills are not out yet. He said downtown businesses can expect “a giant” reduction in 2017 as a result of dramatic assessment changes.
“No one is going to be paying much more tax then they did last year. Most people will be paying far less,” Nenshi said.
“In fact, if you’re in downtown Calgary you’ll be paying far, far less.”
Late Monday afternoon at the restaurant at 402 – 8th Ave. S.W., there was no sign on the door to indicate its closure.
Earlier this year, Calgary businesses were bracing for looming property tax hikes.
“There were businesses this year that could have faced a 30 per cent increase or even higher,” said Scott Crockatt, director of communications with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.
However, in late January, city council approved a program that ensures assessment-related hikes for non-residential properties will be limited to five per cent.
The $45-million program will be automatically applied when property tax bills are mailed out in May.
“While I certainly would hope that no business would have to pay a single dollar more in tax this year than they would in previous years, I think this move by the city to cap the property tax increase at five per cent shows recognition of this issue and keeps it to a level that should be more modest and manageable for most businesses,” Crockatt said.
He added businesses that were anticipating a property tax hike should research the program.
“Especially if that big property tax increase could put your business into jeopardy, then you need to find out about this program and get some clarity on exactly what size of tax increase you might be facing.”
With files from Aurelio Perri