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Winston-Salem's Tallest Buildings and Skyscrapers
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:59 pm
Posts: 3535
No exciting big idea posts in the ideas forum at WSTB? We need some big ideas to start conversation here and I think this could be an idea big enough to start that conversation.

I recently read of plans in Seattle to change the tax values of properties, so all properties in the downtown area pay the same taxes. The idea behind it is, you can get more for your money if you develop a parking lot into a building and you don't pay more than everyone else for building bigger. You don't pay more in taxes by adding apartments to the top of your proposed 5-storey office building, as another example, but you do gain more revenue from the property. The market will obviously limit what can and can't be built, but this is a tool to help encourage infill and it doesn't reward demolition and leaving a lot empty. I'm guessing incentives reducing those taxes could be offered for small offices, if needed? Seattle seems to think it will lead to more development on properties that were transformed into parking lots to save money and prevent future parking lots. I thought, what if Winston-Salem tried something similar to this. I would add-up the cost of all parking lots, dirt fields, and buildings. Exclude the mostly retail structures, like those with art galleries and restaurants that likely can't afford higher taxes. Divide by all properties that would pay the tax. I'm guessing we would exclude properties with less than three or four floors that have 40% or more of their footprint as retail, so storefronts aren't charged too much? They would pay whatever their property is assessed at, as usual. Imagine if the taxes paid on a parking lot were the same as the taxes paid for the Wells Fargo Center? And if you don't want to build an office or apartment building, you can always build a small retail structure on your parking lot and exclude your property.

Do you have any suggestions to make this work better? It could be a great way to fill-in downtown? It will also generate new tax revenue, since all of the new construction becomes part of the average that is divided among all property owners in the next evaluation. I'm always looking for any ideas that could encourage infilling parking lots and dirt lots, while maybe rewarding those who go big.


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