St. Catharines property sale to drive affordable housing development

Ontario Construction News staff writer

With a goal of increasing affordable housing stock in the St. Catharines, council has approved the sale of municipally-owned land at 320 Geneva St.

The 3.8-acre site previously occupied by the city’s community, recreation and culture services administration building, is expected to be used in part for affordable and social housing.

Specifically, the city will sell the land for $1.35 million to Penn Terra Group Ltd. (PTGL), based on the developer’s proposal to develop the area with 43 per cent affordable housing, 14 per cent social housing and 43 per cent market rate housing.

PTGL has proposed the construction of a nine-storey building with 180 rental units and one, four-storey building with 32, two-bedroom townhomes. In addition, approximately 19,000 square feet of commercial space could be developed on the site, alongside three community gardens.

“Today is a great day for those advocating for affordable, attainable and social housing in St. Catharines,” said Mayor Walter Sendzik. “Last night’s decision to move forward with selecting a building company with a solid track record to construct social, affordable and attainable housing on city-controlled land is a first in St. Catharines. We are addressing housing affordability and this is another strong example of our commitment as a city.”

The affordable housing portion of the development will include 32 townhomes, which will be sold at 10 per cent below the average purchase price of a resale unit in the regional market area, and 60 rental units rented at 80 per cent of average market rents for a unit in the regional market area. Average market rents are based on annual enumerations within the local housing market as conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

“This is really a win-win for us, we are bringing money back to taxpayers with the sale of this underutilized property and, at the same time, driving development of affordable housing that is desperately needed in our community,” said CAO David Oakes.

The city has placed legal restrictions on the sale and transfer of the property to ensure the development is completed as proposed.

Pending development approvals, construction could begin as early as May 2023.

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