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New tax abatement program incentivizes Downtown Juneau housing development

April 23, 2021 – News

The Juneau Assembly passed an ordinance in March establishing a property tax abatement program to incentivize the development of housing in Downtown Juneau. The program provides a 12-year tax abatement for projects that develop at least four new residential units in the area that extends from the Willoughby District to the Tram and up to Sixth Street (map). See the program application here.

“Adding year-round housing units downtown has been a longstanding community goal because people want to live downtown. This incentive will help developers and property owners fill the financing gap that often stalls the creation of new housing in the area,” Chief Housing Officer Scott Ciambor said.

The program would significantly reduce the amount of property tax – around an 80 percent reduction – on new downtown residential units during the 12-year period. Alaska state statue only allows municipalities to exempt the amount of taxes that exceeds the school district’s required local contribution on new residential activity.

The developer has to apply for the tax break program prior to the issuance of a building permit. The tax abatement will not take effect until the project receives a certificate of occupancy. Units developed under the program cannot be used as short-term rentals (less than 30 days) during the property tax abatement period.

The CBJ Housing Action Plan, adopted in 2016, recommended the creation and use of tax abatement programs to encourage the development of workforce, senior, and downtown housing.

The application form for the Downtown Housing Tax Abatement program, and other real property exemptions, is available through the CBJ Assessor Office website, or see the application here.

For more information, contact Chief Housing Officer Scott Ciambor at 586-5240 or Scott.Ciambor@juneau.org, or go to the CBJ Housing Program website.