A 22 storey rental only tower in the middle of one of North America’s most dense neighbourhood’s shouldn’t be a cause for concern for anyone. However, the proposal ruffled more than a few feathers with West End residents. Despite the opposition and a vigourous three year debate, city council approved the 22-storey tower in the West End.
The fact that West End residents oppose this isn’t shocking. It is Vancouver and people are just looking for a reason to complain. Furthermore, why would they oppose a rental only building in a city that is severely unaffordable and lacks purpose rental buildings? The reason cited is that the costs to rent the units are out of reach for the current mix of West End residents. Studio units are expected to rent for between $860 to $1,209 , $1,200 to $1,450 for a one-bedroom, $1,600 to $2,000 for a two-bedroom, and $2,300 to $2,500 for a three-bedroom townhouse. However, these rates are in line with rental rates in the West End, especially in newer, renovated abodes.
Looking at the above rental prices you’ll need a household income of about $40,000 per year to live comfortably in a higher price range studio or one bedroom units. To live comfortably in the 2 bedroom units a household income of greater than $75,000 is ideal. The average household income is $51,933 (2005) according to the West End Business Improvement Association. However, it should be noted that over 50% of the West End population has income lower than $39,000 (again 2005 numbers). This is why residents want to see more rental stock for lower income individuals.
Perhaps the developer can throw in some low end rental stock as part of the proposal.