By Robin MacLennan
Ontario Construction News staff writer
The federal government and the City of London are joining forces with an investment to create more affordable housing in the city. Standing at 40 stories and 129 meters, the Centro tower will be the tallest building between Mississauga and Calgary.
Canada’s minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, families, children and social development announced $130 million for the construction of two multi-residential buildings including 420 units located at 495 Talbot St and 110 Fullarton St. in London.
In addition to the 40-story tower, there will be a 29 story tower, connected by a nine-story structure.
“Through the National Housing Strategy, our Government is increasing the number of rental units for Canadians. These investments also create good jobs and grow the local economy,” Hussen said.
“They are making a big difference in building a more sustainable future through more energy-efficient and affordable homes. Today’s investment is wonderful news for residents of London, who will soon have new safe and affordable rental housing units.”
The project, developed by Old Oak Properties Inc., will be funded through CMHC’s Rental Construction Financing initiative (RCFi), a National Housing Strategy program delivered by CMHC that supports rental housing construction projects to encourage a stable supply of rental housing for middle-class families struggling in expensive housing markets across the country.
A total of 110 units (26 percent) will be geared to low income, with rents lower than 30 percent of median household income in London. Also, 84 of these units will have rents that fall at or below 70 per cent of the 30 per cent median income in the area and provide affordable housing options close to public transit and services for modest and middle-income individuals and families.
“There is likely no issue more pressing, no issue more important in London right now than that of affordable housing,” said Mayor Ed Holder. “Nearly 5,000 Londoners are on the waitlist as demand continues to rise. We are committed to solving this challenge, but no municipality can do it alone. That is why partnerships such as this mean so much.”
Holder said the commitment from the feds and Old Oak Properties Inc. is “significant, and worthy of substantial recognition.” He described the two multi-residential buildings as a “terrific example of private-public partnership.”
Buildings are designed to reduce energy use by 25.2 percent and greenhouse gases by 38.5 percent, relative to the 2015 NECB.
The RCFi, a National Housing Strategy (NHS) initiative delivered by CMHC, supports affordable rental housing construction projects to encourage a stable supply of affordable rental housing across the country for middle-class households struggling in expensive housing markets.
“Old Oak is grateful that Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is providing a loan for this exciting new project,” said Jeff Martin, CFO at Old Oak Properties Inc. “Named Centro, this will be a landmark development for both London and Old Oak.
Launched in April 2017, the RCFi has generated a lot of interest and a high number of quality applications. It is expected to encourage construction of 42,500 new rental housing units across Canada.
This project represents a major new supply of purpose-built rental housing in London – where vacancy rates in 2018 were 1.4 percent.