Rentals target middle class

The province, City of Kelowna and developer PC Urban have joined forces on a multi-million affordable housing project on the former BC Packinghouse site on Clement Avenue.

The project, which has received all the permits and approvals from the city, will add 157 rental units inside two six-storey buildings on a portion of the site.

Housing Minister Selina Robinson said this project will help those people within what is known as the "missing middle," people with good incomes who are feeling the pinch of the housing crisis.

She said too many people can't find the type of housing that meets their needs, and that they can afford.

Mayor Colin Basran said quality housing for residents in the middle income range is critical to both attract, and retain a strong local workforce.

Being on the edge of downtown is a bonus.

"It's no secret Kelowna city council wants to direct as much of our new growth in the next 20 years to our urban centre and our urban core, but that's where the land is most expensive," said Basran.

"Our downtown for example shouldn't be a place that's only available to those who can pay the highest to live here."

The rental apartments will be mainly one and two bedroom units, with a few three bedrooms sprinkled in.

They are designed for households with annual incomes in the range of about $52,000 to $71,000.

PC Urban CEO Brent Sawchyn says they will go for between $1,200 a month for a one bedroom and $1,700 for a two bedroom.

PC Urban purchased the entire five-and-a-half acre property with financing assistance through the province's HousingHub Initiative. The city's role was approving the project and working through some "bumps in the road."

One of those was the parking issue. The city approved surface parking for the entire site as opposed to underground parking which is the norm for a project like this.

Construction is expected to begin next month with completion late in 2020.

Sawchyn says a second project, an urban-industrial office complex is also proposed for the same site.

It goes to public hearing next month and, if approved, construction could begin in late summer.

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