Coquitlam brings end to rental building drought
Incentives made project work, says developer
A new building exclusively made for renters is going up in Coquitlam and the developers say it’s all thanks to the city’s new housing affordability strategy.
Redbrick Properties Inc. will break ground on the new building on the border of Coquitlam and Burnaby near Lougheed Mall this Saturday. The building is the first of its kind in four decades, said Aly Jiwan, CEO of Redbrick.
“Greater Vancouver is in a severe housing crisis, we have a shortage of affordable housing options,” he said. “It’s going to provide really good quality housing for people who want to rent as an affordable (alternative) option to buying in that area.”
However, Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart disputes the claim that it’s the first, and pointed to a few other projects that included several rental properties.
Redbrick told Metro that although other developments have included rental units, none have been 100 per cent market rate rental units.
For years, developers have focused on building condos, and selling off the apartments to the highest bidders.
The model is more profitable than building rental units, Jiwan said.
“That’s what’s really happened over the last 40 years. Everything has gone to strata condos and we’ve had no rental built,” he said.
In response to the housing crisis in the lower mainland, a number of municipalities have passed legislation that gives developers incentive to construct purpose-built rental apartments.
Jiwan said that thanks to Coquitlam’s “relaxation” of its building requirements — which is part of the city’s housing affordability strategy — it’s now financially feasible for his company to build market rental units.
“We’re paying full development costs,” he said. “The only relaxations we’re getting under the new housing affordability strategy is slightly extra density and slightly less parking requirements … Underground parking is extremely expensive. It’s one of the most expensive parts of a multi-family development.”
The building will include one studio suite, 34 onebedroom units, and six twobedroom units, all of which will be available for rent in August 2019. Jiwan said he couldn’t say what the rent would be until closer to the move-in date.
“We’re anticipating that it’s going to be far more affordable than buying a similar unit, in terms of the monthly carrying costs,” he said.
The average one-bedroom apartment in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody rents for $1,005, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s annual rental survey, 12 per cent higher than just one year ago.
Coquitlam will see its irst purpose-built, rental-only building in 40 years.