Community Land Trust Partners with City of Vancouver to Build 358 Affordable New Homes

A partnership of co-op and non-profit organizations led by the Co-operative Housing Federation of B.C. and the Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation is developing 358 affordable homes on four sites owned by the City of Vancouver:

  • 1700 Kingsway (Kensington Cedar Cottage)
  • 2780 SE Marine Drive (Killarney)
  • 2800 SE Marine Drive (Killarney)
  • 2910 E Kent Avenue South (Killarney)
1700 Kingsway

1700 Kingsway

These affordable housing units will provide much-needed additional housing stock targeted to families and seniors. Rents across the four sites will average close to 25 per cent below market. Over 50 per cent of the housing (182 two and three bed homes) will be for families and 30 per cent (108 homes) for seniors, and it will be delivered through an innovative partnership model between the City and the Land Trust. This project is the first of its kind in Vancouver with a land trust partnership model to develop new affordable housing.

The Community Land Trust is a great example of partnership between the City, the provincial and federal governments, and non-profit organizations working together to find innovative new ways to create much-needed affordable housing in Vancouver. The City is proud to provide the land to build over 350 new rental homes for Vancouver residents, with over 50 per cent of these new homes built specifically for families. — Mayor Gregor Robertson

Construction is underway on all four sites with the first 48 homes scheduled for completion next March and the remainder to follow early in 2018.

This development is unique because it combines the strengths of multiple sites, investors and partners in a portfolio that maximizes economies of scale and long-term affordability. — Thom Armstrong, Executive Director of CHF BC.

Innovative Partnership

The partners of the Community Land Trust Foundation include

  • Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation (General Partner)
  • Fraserview Housing Co-operative (Equity Contributor and Non-Profit Operator)
  • Sanford Housing Society (Equity Contributor and Non-Profit Operator)
  • Tikva Housing Society (Equity Contributor and Non-Profit Operator)
  • BC Housing (Lender)
  • Newmarket Funds (Equity Investor)
  • Vancity (Land Trust Contributor)

The Land Trust originally signed a development agreement with the City in October 2014 to secure the sites on 99-year leases and begin the complex job of designing more than 350 homes for a diverse mix of incomes and household types. Once complete, the development will be operated by a new non-profit housing co-op and two non-profit housing societies. Residents will include low-income singles and seniors, and low to moderate-income families. Unlike most new developments in Vancouver, more than a quarter of the new homes will have three bedrooms to serve families in desperate need of affordable housing.

Rents for these new homes will be set closer to the projected occupancy dates, but the target affordability will be an average of 76% of market rents across the four properties. Rents for some of the homes will be as low as the provincial shelter allowance rate.

2780 & 2800 SE Marine Dr.

2780 & 2800 SE Marine Dr.

The City of Vancouver  has provided land worth almost $25M to the development but will not be providing any ongoing subsidy to the partners or to any of the residents. The co-op and non-profit partners in the project are investing almost $5 million of their own equity to make the development even more affordable.

Other funding arrangements illustrate the innovative nature of the portfolio approach being used by the Land Trust. To help keep rents in all units affordable, the Land Trust will lease out the commercial space at 1700 Kingsway and apply the proceeds to reduce the amount it needs to borrow for construction. The riverfront townhouses and apartments at 2910 E Kent Avenue will generate additional revenue which will be used to increase affordability at the other properties. BC Housing is providing more than $4M of project development funding as equity that will be used to create more affordability over time and more than $90M in construction financing at very affordable rates.

The Province welcomes innovative partnerships and opportunities that result in the creation of new, affordable housing. Many individuals and families will soon have access to quality, affordable homes and this is a direct testament to the strength of our partnership with the federal government, City of Vancouver, the Land Trust and our community partners. —Rich Coleman, Minister Responsible for Housing

The Land Trust is also the first developer in BC to make use of private capital from New Market Funds, a social impact investment firm targeting purpose-built, multi-family, affordable rental housing.

2910 E Kent Ave.

2910 E Kent Ave.

Armstrong claims the development is an example of what can happen when municipalities are creative in the use of their land.

“The land trust model can be used to mobilize private and public assets and create effective partnerships that benefit the entire community. We look forward to working with the City and our many other partners to increase the supply of affordable housing here in Vancouver and right across British Columbia.”

For more information on the Land Trust, visit: vancouverlandtrust.ca