Construction is underway on a 135 unit affordable housing project on one of the last remaining greenfield vacant sites in Southeast False Creek, just east of the Vancouver Olympic Village.
The 15-storey development will be built on the northwest corner of Quebec Street and East 1st Avenue as part of “The Creek”, a significant multi-building housing development by Concert Properties. Four other buildings, reaching no more than 18 storeys in height, will be purposed with approximately 450 units of market housing on the upper floors. Retail and amenities will be found on the ground floor of some of the buildings.
The 6.4 acre site is framed by the False Creek seawall and Science World to the north, East 1st Avenue to the south, Ontario Street to the west, and Quebec Street to the east.
Approximately three acres of the site along Quebec Street was acquired by the developer from TransLink after the Olympics for development purposes. The eastern portions of the site, an area of 2.7 acres, fronting Ontario Street and touching the seawall will be turned into new park space.
The City will own the affordable housing building when it reaches completion in mid-2018. Following the Affordable and Modest Market housing requirements, 40 per cent of the units will be targeted to individuals with an annual income of between $36,500 and $56,000 while the remaining 60 per cent will be at ‘modest market rates’ for the neighbourhood.
With 44 two-bedroom and 29 three-bedroom units, more than half of the units – 54 per cent – will be designed for families with children.
During a press conference, Mayor Gregor Robertson indicated that Vancouver City Council will pursue the reinstatement of its Family Rezoning Policy, which will require major projects to design and allocate more larger residential units for families with children.
“What we’re seeing in the market is people having kids and wanting to stay in the city core where the jobs are, and that means they need bigger homes and apartments,” said Robertson.
“We are definitely focused on getting more family housing built in the City of Vancouver. For many years the focus was on small condos, studios, and single bedrooms. We certainly saw a proliferation of that in towers built in the downtown peninsula and now we’ve found that we need more family units, so we’re upping the requirements in the major rezonings to 35 per cent of the units that need to be family housing. They need to be two, three, and four-bedroom units.”
The Creek’s affordable housing building joins a number of other affordable and social housing projects in the immediate area. There are 252 affordable housing and 100 modest market housing units in the Olympic Village and 129 supportive permanent housing units at First Place Residence at 188 East 1st Avenue, which was completed in 2012.
When fully built out, Southeast False Creek will be home to 16,000 residents.
Earlier this year, Robertson made a formal offer to the federal government to build 3,500 social housing units on $250 million worth of land on 23 City-owned sites. He is seeking a $500 million investment from the federal government’s $20 billion social infrastructure fund over the next ten years.
The City aims to stimulate the creation of 5,000 market rental housing units and 2,900 supportive housing units by 2021. Additionally, there is a separate target of adding 1,400 units of social housing and 1,650 units of market housing in the Downtown Eastside.
Currently, Vancouver is responsible for over half of the new rental housing stock in the entire region.