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Etobicoke to get 259-unit apartment building under federal loan program

Toronto Star logo Toronto Star 2019-03-14 Tess Kalinowski - Real Estate Reporter
a large ship in a body of water: Mayor John Tory said the city needs to find ways to add rental apartments in “mature neighbourhoods.” © Rene Johnston Mayor John Tory said the city needs to find ways to add rental apartments in “mature neighbourhoods.”

A new 16-storey, 259-unit apartment building in Etobicoke — close to transit, schools, parks and right next door to a grocery store — is the biggest project to date under a federal loan program that helps developers deliver affordable, accessible housing.

About 80 per cent of the one- and two-bedroom units at the Terraces of Princess Gardens will have rents at or below 30 per cent of the median household income and 10 per cent of the units will be accessible, said Jean-Yves Duclos, the minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., on Thursday.

The energy-efficient building near Eglinton and Kipling Aves. is being developed with an $89-million loan through Ottawa’s Rental Construction Financing Initiative.

Part of the federal Liberal government’s 10-year, $40-billion National Housing Strategy, the program offers $3.75 billion in low-cost loans to developers through 2021 to create 14,000 affordable homes for those who don’t qualify for assisted housing but are struggling to afford shelter.

Duclos pointed out that the federal riding of Etobicoke-Centre has a vacancy rate of about 0.6 per cent.

“The very people who work very hard to make our cities run can’t afford to live in them any more. That means that teachers, nurses, store clerks, construction workers — many find it impossible to live where they can make ends meet in our large urban centres,” he said.

The new building — the fifth in a complex of four older buildings by Princess Management — is exactly what the city needs, Mayor John Tory said.

“It shows that in a place like this with a very low vacancy rate we can find a way to construct affordable rental housing within a mature neighbourhood. There is a way to do it and we must find ways to do it across the city of Toronto,” he said.

It is in addition to the city’s Housing Now program that will provide land and financial incentives to developers and not-for-profits to build housing on 11 publicly owned sites. That program is expected to create 10,187 homes. About a third would be rented at below-market rates, another third would be average market rent and the remainder would probably be sold as condos.

The Etobicoke apartment building that should be built in about two years shows the money from the National Housing Strategy is real, said Toronto Liberal MP Adam Vaughan (Spadina-Fort York).

“It takes the private sector looking at real estate assets they own in the city and how to bring those to market in new ways,” he said.

CMHC estimated that the average Toronto rent for a two-bedroom apartment climbed 5.2 per cent to $1,467 between October 2017 and 2018.

A survey by online real estate brokerage Zoocasa found 82 per cent of respondents think housing affordability is a major issue. But 55 per cent said that government policy alone won’t be enough to fix the problem.

The online survey of 1,000 people earlier this month is said to be accurate within 3 per cent 19 times out of 20.

Files from Toronto Star City Hall Bureau

Tess Kalinowski is a Toronto-based reporter covering real estate. Follow her on Twitter: @tesskalinowski

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