Vancouver-based Hungerford Properties is partnering with several agencies to create an innovative, six-storey mixed-use development which combines social and market rental housing with ground-floor retail space.
The project, to be known as The Link, broke ground Friday (Jan. 26) and will create 148 rental homes; 44 seniors housing apartments, 104 market rental apartments, in addition to the retail units. Located in the Collingwood neighbourhood, near Boundary and Kingsway Streets at the Vancouver-Burnaby border, The Link is scheduled for completion in 2019.
The property was the site of an aging seniors residence called Odd Fellows Manor, which has now been demolished. The development is a partnership between the non-profit, Odd Fellows Low Rental Housing Society, Terra Special Projects, GBL Architects, the City of Vancouver and Hungerford.
David Hurford, CEO for Three Links Care Society which manages Odd Fellows Society, called these partnerships “the wave of the future for housing developments.”
“There’s such an appetite for projects like this, not only on the municipal level but provincially and nationally as well,” said Hurford in a release announcing the groundbreaking. “Housing affordability is such a big problem, we need all hands on deck. We can’t afford to be working in silos.
“This project is the poster child for what the federal and provincial governments are trying to accomplish. It’s a good demonstration that governments can trust non-profits and private partnerships to work together for the public good.”
Hungerford, Odd Fellows to own apartments
Both the federal government, in its $12-billion national housing strategy, and the province support this type of development.
“This project represents a positive partnership between the city, a non-profit, a private developer and a social purpose real estate consulting firm,” said Michael Hungerford, a partner at Hungerford Properties, in the release.
“We are grateful to be part of the solution to creating more affordable housing in Vancouver and providing diversified housing stock. We are looking forward to working with our partners to develop more projects like this one.”
The partnership allows the Odd Fellows Low Rental Housing Society to replace its seniors’ housing facility at no cost to the society, while continuing to provide affordable homes for its residents. Hungerford is assuming the costs of building the site.
The 29 studios and 15 one-bedroom seniors apartments, which replace the 44 contained in the old residence, will be owned by the Odd Fellows. Hungerford will own the market-rental units, a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, through a strata arrangement.
Access to transit, amenities
Residents of the former Odd Fellows home were relocated under a city program, but have first right of refusal to move back into the new development. Odd Fellows tenants paid about $500 per month for a one-bedroom unit in the old building. They will pay a higher rent in the new residence due to strata costs, but it will still be less expensive than market rents.
“The new facility will allow us to continue to provide quality, modern, affordable housing to seniors on a low, fixed income with amenities close by and on transit,” said Hurford. “This project fills two gaps in providing affordable housing for the low-income, 50-plus population and at the same time providing much-needed market rental.”
Hurford says the location of the development, at the Vancouver-Burnaby border, provides easy access to amenities and transit for residents — two light-rail transit stations are within walking distance.
The building is 110,654 square feet in total, with about 10,031 square feet of retail. Hungerford says the retail space features 12-foot ceilings and faces onto a street which averages more than 43,000 vehicles per day.
Hungerford is one of the first developers to combine social housing and market rentals under the city’s new Rental 100 program. It encourages the development of projects where 100 per cent of the residential units are rental, with capped rental rates.
The policy targets moderate-income households, and is designed to help the city reach its goal of creating 5,000 new units of market rental housing by 2021.