Local developer Ian Gillespie is experimenting with the idea of building a downtown condo that is affordable to a couple making minimum wage. The tower would be located on Cordova between Gastown and the Downtown Eastside. To keep costs down it will feature simple finishes, no parking, and owners would do their own maintenance instead of paying strata fees to cover repairs. To try to keep out speculators and flippers they will require the units to be owner occupied.
The 108-unit project is a collaboration involving Vancity credit union, Habitat for Humanity and a Downtown Eastside housing group. Habitat will get four condos suitable for families in the building and will choose who gets them. Another eight units, to be managed by the PHS housing society, will go to local community workers.
The remaining 96 condos will go to buyers who will have to prove that they plan to live in the units and who agree to do some maintenance themselves instead of just paying standard condo-maintenance fees. According to the material submitted to the city, nearly three-quarters of the condos will sell for less than $300,000, and more than half will be affordable to people making between $29,000 and $36,000 a year. That’s the income of an individual earning $15-$19 an hour, or a couple in which each partner makes the $8-an-hour minimum wage.
One interesting point: one of the reasons they can build this condo development for cheaper is because the land got cheaper:
The land, previously owned by developer Robert Wilson, was repossessed by Vancity last year. He had purchased it for $7.9-million in July, 2007, shortly before the city’s real-estate market deflated. It’s now assessed at $5.4-million.
Read the full article in the Globe and Mail.