Propolis Cooperative Housing Society celebrates purchase of Tranquille property

Property secured for co-op

Propolis Cooperative Housing Society is celebrating its purchase of a Tranquille Road property — a significant milestone in its goal to construct affordable, net-zero homes in Kamloops.

“This has been such a huge achievement for our cooperative,” said Lindsay Harris, Propolis president.

“The ability to secure land is one of the biggest barriers that new co-ops face when they’re trying to get housing started. So to reach this milestone, it’s a huge celebration time for us — and we’re so happy and grateful for the support of the community that’s helped us to get this far.”

The property, located at 422 and 424 Tranquille Rd., was purchased for $945,000. Propolis secured nearly $600,000 in community bond investments and obtained additional financing through impact loans from two short-term lenders to fund the purchase.

Propolis also had help from Kamloops council, which last spring approved the sale and land closure of an area behind the existing building on the site. The society is buying the parcel for a dollar in exchange for an agreement to operate affordable co-op housing on the site.

Propolis is planning to construct a six-storey development, with 50 units of affordable homes set above 9,300 square feet of commercial space on the ground level.

Harris said the commercial space will be designed with the property's current tenants in mind, and will include a performing arts space.

“We’re having early conversations with the Effie Arts Collective and Hatsuki Sushi to see how we can incorporate them into the design process, and be sure that their needs will be met in the building that we build,” Harris said.

The units will operate as a non-profit housing co-op, targeted to be priced at 80 per cent of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s median market rates in Kamloops.

Miles Pruden, who is leading the development of the building, said it will bring a "deep level of affordability," accessible to residents of all demographics.

“This isn't an income-tested building, this is just available to everybody, but it's very deeply affordable. And that puts a lot more money into our economy, a lot of discretionary income which helps all the businesses around it,” said Pruden.

“As we build more of this, I think we'll really feel an impact in the quality of life, the safety of our streets, the housing security for people. I think everybody in town, whether you live in it or not, will benefit.”

The residential units will be net-zero, meaning they will only use as much energy as they produce from renewable sources.

Pruden said not only do net-zero homes help reduce climate footprint, the operating costs for the building will also be lower as a result.

"It's one of those opportunities where it's good for the economy, it saves a lot of money, and it's good for the environment. So it's kind of a no-brainer," he said.

The next stage for Propolis includes starting project design while continuing to raise funds through its community bond campaign. Harris said there is about $500,000 left available for community investors.

The non-profit hopes to start construction in the fall of 2025, with occupancy in late 2026.

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