$349 million in federal financing for 800+ new rental homes by Wesgroup

Aug 13 2021, 5:24 pm

The federal government has announced $349 million in construction financing through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for three rental housing projects in New Westminster and Vancouver by local developer Wesgroup.

The low-cost loans towards covering the cost of construction will help build a combined total of about 836 new rental homes.

This includes financing for the developer’s major project of 424 secured market rental homes within a 34-storey, mixed-use tower at 100 Braid Street, right next to SkyTrain’s Braid Station.

100 braid street new westminster

2020 artistic rendering of 100 Braid Street, New Westminster. (Chris Dikeakos Architects/Wesgroup)

The remaining balance of the rental units financed by CMHC were originally planned as condominiums — located within the Brewery District redevelopment at 268 Nelson’s Court next to SkyTrain’s Sapperton Station, and a parcel of River District at 8690 Jack Uppal Street in southeast Vancouver.

New Westminster Brewery District

Artistic rendering of Building Seven at the Brewery District, located at 268 Nelson Street, New Westminster. (Chris Dikeakos Architects/Wesgroup)

New Westminster Brewery District

Artistic rendering of Building Seven at the Brewery District, located at 268 Nelson Street, New Westminster. (Chris Dikeakos Architects/Wesgroup)

Funding for these projects comes from the National Housing Strategy’s Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFI), which focuses on catalyzing rental housing for middle-class households in expensive urban housing markets.

By providing low-cost construction financing, rental housing becomes more economically feasible for private developers in certain situations, especially with the rising cost of land, and construction labour and materials. Many developers building rental housing seek financing from pension funds and other financial institutions, which normally seek higher returns over the lifetime of their investment.

“CMHC’s RCFI program aligns with Wesgroup’s core values, and through our partnership together we have successfully converted three projects that would have otherwise been condominiums into affordable, accessible and sustainable rental homes,” said Beau Jarvis, president of Wesgroup, in a statement.

“These developments provide quality housing accessible to a wide demographic, with great access to transit, amenities, services and jobs. This partnership demonstrates the successful implementation of a targeted government strategy and helps to address the challenges of delivering quality housing in dense urban areas.  Moreover, this is a great example of the private sector collaborating with various levels of government in an effort to actively address the lack of housing supply in our province.”

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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