A large full block development proposal with 95 dwelling units at 7350 Fraser Street was referred to Public Hearing at a Council meeting on July 22, 2014. The next Public Hearing on Council’s schedule will take place on Tuesday, September 16th at 6pm. [Update: this rezoning will be reviewed by City Council at that time.]
The rezoning proposal is made possible only by the Rental 100 developer incentive program, and it is instructive to see how that program affects the neighbourhood and cost of housing. Who benefits and who loses?
Today, a building with 22 units of rental is located on the site (see photos further below). Rents for 1-bedroom apartments range from $685 to $750 per month, with an average rent of $714 per month (with unit sizes ranging from 600 to 650 sq feet).
If the rezoning is approved, the proposed 95 apartment units are anticipated to rent for $1,154 per month (1-bedroom, 574 sq ft, 69 units) and for $1,543 per month (2-bedroom, 767.5 sq ft, 26 units total). Current tenants will be offered a 20% reduction on the initial rents ($923.50 per month for a slightly smaller one-bedroom); they will have a first right of refusal to move back to the location. This rent is still a $210 increase per month. New tenants will pay $440 more for rents per month over the current average for a 1-bedroom unit.
The proposed six-storey development is situated on the block between 57th and 58th Avenue on the east side of Fraser Street. A significant increase in height and density is being requested over the current RT-2 zoning (duplex), which allows for a maximum height of 9.2 metres (30.2 ft) and a Floor Space Ratio of 0.75. The applicant is requesting CD-1 spot zoning to allow for a maximum height of 14.0 metres (46 ft) and FSR of 2.61. The design is by Cornerstone Architecture (principal architects Richard Hammond and Alison Hannay) while the developer is engimatic Archstone Development (which appears to have no office, no phone number, and no website, though there appears to be an Archstone Development Group in Florida). The anticipated construction cost is $212 per sq. ft ($2,284 / m2). A total of 78 underground parking spaces are proposed with laneway access at the rear of the site.
A full DCL and CAC waiver is requested by the applicant. This is permitted under the Rental 100 program. No public benefits are listed in the City’s staff report apart from the market rental units.
If this application is approved, will it set precedents on Fraser Street?
This site is located 6 blocks away from the South Hill retail area on Fraser Street (South Hill is zoned as C-2). There is one block of C-1 zoned land north of East 57th Avenue, with buildings of one and three storeys. The buildings to the south of the site are predominately one and two storeys in height. Would a six-storey building be significantly out of scale for this section of Fraser? Is a building height of 3 or 4 storeys the highest that should be considered for 7350 Fraser? Would the proposed 6-storey building set a precedent for the future? We’ve included a few photos of the area below. Further details on the rezoning proposal at 7350 Fraser can be found on the City’s rezoning centre webpage.