Vancouver council approves first moderate-income rental housing project

Dec 13 2019, 6:30 pm

A milestone has been reached with the City of Vancouver’s Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP), now that the first project under the incentives has been approved.

On Thursday night, Vancouver city council gave the green light to The Molnar Group’s rezoning applications to build 178 secured new rental homes across two seven-storey buildings near SkyTrain’s Renfrew Station.

2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street) and 2603-2655 Renfrew Street (southwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

Sites of 2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street) and 2603-2655 Renfrew Street (southwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street) and 2603-2655 Renfrew Street (southwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

Sites of 2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street) and 2603-2655 Renfrew Street (southwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

One building at the site of 2543-2583 Renfrew Street will contain 96 rental homes, with 19 units at below-market rents and 35% of these homes suitable for larger families. The second building right across the street at 2603-2655 Renfrew Street will create 82 rental homes, with 18 units for below-market housing.

This totals 141 market rental homes and 37 below-market rental homes.

2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street) and 2603-2655 Renfrew Street (southwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

Artistic rendering of 2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street) and 2603-2655 Renfrew Street (southwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

Artistic rendering of 2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street) and 2603-2655 Renfrew Street (southwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

Under the MIRHPP, all residential space in the project must be secured rental housing, with at least 20% of the residential floor area designated for moderate income households earning between $30,000 and $80,000 annually.

The current rents of the MIRHPP units are established at $950 for a studio, $1,200 for a one-bedroom unit, $1,600 for a two-bedroom unit, and $2,000 for a three-bedroom unit.

In exchange for providing units with below-market rents, MIRHPP provides developers with incentives such as additional height and density, development cost levy waiver, parking requirement reductions, relaxation of minimum unit size and configuration requirements, and expedited application processing. The rezoning application was submitted this past spring.

“These types of homes are critical to keeping more middle income households, including our nurses, firefighters, bus drivers and teachers, housed within the city,” said Gil Kelley, general manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability for the city, in a statement.

“To ensure that these moderate income rental units remain affordable over time, the rent cannot be increased by more than the maximum annual rate year to year, and will also be controlled when a new household moves in.”

2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street) and 2603-2655 Renfrew Street (southwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

Artistic rendering of 2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street) and 2603-2655 Renfrew Street (southwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

Artistic rendering of 2543-2583 Renfrew Street and 2895 East 10th Avenue (northwest corner of East 10th Avenue and Renfrew Street). (Wensley Architecture / The Molnar Group)

Both buildings, replacing a number of single-family homes, will also have 15,000 sq. ft. of ground-level commercial space. Altogether, the combined floor area of both buildings is about 155,000 sq. ft.

Two underground levels in each building will enable over 100 vehicle parking stalls combined.

The MIRHPP stream for applications was recently extended through January 1, 2021 to better enable developers to reach the city’s limit of 20 projects. To date, the municipal government has received 10 rezoning applications falling under MIRHPP.