Can a studio residential unit in East Vancouver with an average rental rate of $1,496 per month be really called ‘affordable?’
That is the language used in a City staff report evaluating the rezoning application of a new six-storey, mixed-use building proposed by Conwest Ventures for 3070 Kingsway, replacing an existing single-storey building.
This project, applied under the Secured Market Rental Housing (Rental 100) Policy, will provide 40 for-profit affordable rental residential units and about 3,100-sq-ft. of ground-floor commercial space.
Average monthly rents are slated to start at $1,496 for a studio, $1,730 for a one-bedroom unit, $2,505 for a two-bedroom unit, and $3,365 for a three-bedroom unit. The apartment unit mix is six studio units, 17 one-bedroom units, and 11 two-bedroom units, plus a townhouse unit mix of two one-bedroom units and four three-bedroom units. The three-storey townhouses are located along the laneway.
“This application meets the requirement of the Rental 100 program by proposing 100% of the residential floor area as for-profit affordable rental housing,” reads the report.
“The dwelling units in this application would be secured as for-profit affordable rental through a Housing Agreement with the City for the longer of the life of the building and 60 years. Covenants will be registered on title to preclude the stratification and/or separate sale of individual units.”
But these will only be the rents in effect upon the project’s rezoning approval, as under bylaws the rents can be increased annually from the time of the public hearing to the initial occupancy.
“A final rent roll that sets out the initial monthly rents for all units will be required prior to issuance of the occupancy permit in order to ensure compliance with the maximum increases authorized by the DCL By-law,” reads the report. “After occupancy, rent increases are regulated by the Residential Tenancy Act.”
The starting rents are comparable to the average market rents of buildings in East Vancouver completed in 2008, with the report citing the October 2018 rental market survey results by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation noting such properties see average rents of $1,531 for a studio, $1,689 for a one-bedroom unit, and $2,284 for a two-bedroom unit.
Residents will have access to a single-level of underground parking that provides 24 vehicle parking stalls.
Overall, the total floor area of the project is pegged at 35,500-sq-ft, giving it a floor space ratio density of 3.27 times the size of its 10,800-sq-ft lot.