Co­quit­lam brings end to rental build­ing drought

In­cen­tives made project work, says de­vel­oper

StarMetro Vancouver - - News - Tessa Vikan­der

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.

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