Affordable Rental Housing planned for six sites – City calls for proposals

The City of Vancouver called for letters of interest to develop affordable rental housing on six sites. The city is offering to provide developers incentives by waiving the DCL (Development Cost Levy), relaxing on-site parking requirements and by fast-tracking approval. One of the sites at 1700 Kingsway (pictured) would allow consideration for additional density via rezoning and also require commercial uses at grade. This small property on Kingsway is the only site out of the 6 that is remotely close to a rapid transit station as it is located between King Edward and Victoria. All of the other 5 sites are in the East Fraserlands on or close to Southeast Marine Drive in the Fraserview Golf Course area. The East Fraserlands sites all have recent CD-1 zoning designations. The city owns four of the six sites and has options on the other two. The city-owned properties would be provided with a long-term lease (60-99 years) at a nominal amount. The returned benefit to the city would the be provision of ‘affordable’ rentals; the question of how ‘affordable’ the units are open ended as long as these are below market rental in pricing.

The document to register expressions of interest lists requirements of a not-for-profit Charitable Institution to be name as a housing partner, along with at least two examples of supportive Housing Experience for the organization, and a listing of all public, private and not-for-profit partners. The deadline to submit a proposal is September 18th, 2012. An optional information meeting is planned for interested parties on Sept 5th with a registration cutoff for this event on August 29th.

As the city is only providing land, there is no additional funding for operating subsidies or construction costs. The projects may rely on density bonusing for providing below market units. A suggestion is made that applicants explore BC Housing’s Community Partnership Initiatives for financing options. The goal of this initial call for submissions is to make a shortlist of interested parties for a subsequent RFP (Request for Proposal); submissions will be reviewed by an evaluation committee. No further information was provided on the makeup of this committee; however, the criterion for evalation are listed.

The document references the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability, and the June 2012 interim report from the committee. There is mention that the winners of the recent re:THINK Housing open ideas competition will be included in a report to council.  Strangely the competition did not announce a winner for the category ‘Building Bold – Private’, winners were only announced for the other categories. It remains to be seen if any of the ideas stemming from the competition will be utilized in the rental housing proposals. All of the sites are obviously in East Vancouver; is there also a need for supported rental in West Vancouver? Was there any analysis made done to determine the geographic distribution of which city-owned properties to put forward for rental development?

For further information on the analysis on the proposal, please see a recent articles in The Mainlander, in The Straight and The Vancouver Sun.

Summary of properties and site area:
1) (unspecified area, 20,565 sq.ft. estimate based on map) @River District 8a (on 3200 block SE Marine Way)
2) ~16,708 sq.ft. @River District 8a (on 3200 block E. Kent Ave South)
3) ~16,511 sq.ft. @1700 Kingsway (the smallest site, commercial uses at grade required)
4) ~60,310 sq.ft. @2780 SE Marine Drive
5) ~59,395 sq.ft. @2800 SE Marine Drive
6) ~91,956 sq.ft  @2910 East Kent Avenue South (East Fraserlands)

The city is reserving many rights; it may chose to change the unilaterally change the rules, withdraw the proposal, not accept any submissions as stated on pages 7-8:

(a) The City may unilaterally take the following actions, and shall not be liable for any
such actions:
(i) amend the scope and description of the opportunity described and the
proposed agreements and arrangements set out in this RFEOI and the
criteria that Interested Parties may be required to meet to be prequalified
for the RFP process. In such event, proposals may be invited from those
Interested Parties who meet the resulting amended prequalification
requirements;
(ii) reject or accept any or all Submissions;
(iii) cancel this RFEOI process and reject all Submissions;
(iv) elect not to proceed with an RFP process;
(v) cancel this RFEOI process and recommence prequalification for this RFP in
respect of the same RFEOI with the same or an amended set of documents,
information and requirements;
(vi) elect not to continue with an RFP process and negotiate directly with one or
more Interested Parties following this RFEOI; or
(vii) issue an RFP to the Pre-qualified Interested Parties and may or may not issue
the RFP to other third parties who the City deems would or should have
been Pre-Qualified Interested Parties,

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