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Columbus Centre will offer more affordable housing in Kelowna

New housing near Capri

It has been nearly 30 years since Kelowna’s Columbian Centennial Housing Society has been able to offer new, affordable housing units to residents.

That day will finally return in a few months when Columbus Centre is completed on Sutherland Avenue, just south of Capri Centre Mall.

“We’re adding to our inventory of affordable rental housing with 36 units. It’s an exciting time for the society,” executive director Keith Bepple says. “CCHS hasn’t been involved in a new build since 1992, so it’s been quite a stretch of time. Certainly we see on a daily basis the need.”

CCHS is a non-profit housing society that provides and maintains high quality and affordable rental housing for low-to-moderate income individuals and families. It partnered with Culos Development Group on one apartment and four townhouse developments throughout Kelowna between 1986 and 1992, and now it is cashing in on the equity it has established over the last three-plus decades to build Columbus Centre.

The new project will feature commercial space at street level and three storeys of housing above. There will be two floors of affordable apartments, and the top level will consist of 12 life-lease units. There will be 24 one-bedroom apartments, eight two-bedrooms, two small one-bedrooms and two studio units.

The rents will be lower than average rates in the private market, and it will not take CCHS long to fill the building.

“We’ve got hundreds of applications for units in our apartment buildings,” Bepple says. “We may see only two or three a year turn over in our apartments, and in the family housing it’s a little bit more than that, but there’s a huge need and demand. In Kelowna it’s becoming more and more difficult to house even a two-income family.”

The life-lease units are essentially market condominiums, but the are being offered at about 12% below appraised value.

Columbus Centre’s location will make it a convenient place for many to live, as it is right across the street from Capri Centre Mall and there are many public transportation options nearby.

The $16.5 million project is being fully funded by CCHS and the Columbus Holding Society, which owned the land. CCHS received funding of $50,000 and $19,300 from Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and City of Kelowna, respectively. BC Housing is guaranteeing the mortgage.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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