Rent starts at "affordable" $3,333 for three-bedroom units at city-backed Vancouver development

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      City of Vancouver staff have endorsed for council approval the rezoning of a Southeast False Creek property for a rental project.

      Monthly rent at the proposed development will start at $3,333 for three-bedroom units.

      Two-bedroom units will be rented out at $2,539; one-bedroom units, $1,922; and studios, $1,496.

      If these rents seem a bit stiff, future residents can perhaps take some comfort about what city staff have to say about the other alternative, which is paying a mortgage on a home.

      According to a city staff report on the rezoning proposal for 1715 Cook Street, renting at the future 10-storey building is more “affordable” than buying a home.

      “In terms of the comparison to home ownership costs, the proposed rents in this application will provide an affordable alternative to homeownership, particularly for the larger units,” the report stated.

      Staff wrote that rental projects like this contribute to building “diverse and sustainable communities”.

      According to staff, owning a home with three bedrooms on the west side of the city costs $8,092 a month.

      For a two-bedroom home in the same area of the city, staff reported that it costs $4,494 a month; one-bedroom, $2,762; and studio, $2,088.

      The rezoning application was filed by Chris Dikeakos Architects Inc. on behalf of Cressey Wilkinson Holdings Ltd. under the city’s Rental 100 program.

      A key program of the Vision Vancouver administration of Mayor Gregor Robertson, Rental 100 provides developers incentives like waivers on development cost levies, increased heights and densities for buildings, and parking space reductions.

      According to staff, the rental incentive program is an important piece in the city’s strategy on housing and homelessness.

      “The Housing and Homelessness Strategy strives to enhance access to affordable housing and sets a number of short- and long-term rental housing targets,” staff reported. “The Rental 100 program plays a critical role in the achievement of these targets by helping to realize secured rental housing.”

      A view of the proposed development at the southwest corner West 1st Avenue and Cook Street.

      According to staff, rental housing such as the one proposed at 1715 Cook Street “provides a more affordable housing option for nearly half of Vancouver’s population and contributes to a number of City initiatives intended to create diverse and sustainable communities”.

      “Rental 100 units are targeted to moderate income households and the program extends throughout all parts of the city, thereby providing options that are more affordable than home ownership,” staff reported.

      Staff have also endorsed the developer’s request not to pay the $2.1 million development levy associated with the project. The development will produce 104 rental units.

      A public hearing on the proposed rezoning is scheduled on December 12.