Vancouver city planners endorse $1 million developer subsidy for East Hastings market rental project

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      Vancouver city council has referred to public hearing a planned rental development on East Hastings.

      The project will charge market rates starting on the day of the public hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

      Nicolaou Properties can start applying the following starting rates on the day of the public hearing: $1,360 for a studio unit; $1,730, one bedroom; $2,308, two bedrooms; and $3,030, three bedrooms.

      Rents can be increased from the day of the public hearing based on the rates allowed by the province.

      The proponent, Nicolaou Properties, has asked for an exemption in paying development cost levies or DCLs for the residential component of the six-storey building.

      The DCLs amount to more than $1 million, and city planners have endorsed the developer’s request for approval by council.

      According to a staff report to council, the rezoning application for 2601-2619 East Hastings Street meets the objectives of the Rental 100 policy.

      Rental 100 was adopted by council in May 2012, which provides several incentives for developers of market rentals.

      The staff report also stated that the application is “consistent” with the city’s definition of “for-profit-affordable rental housing” for which DCLs may be waived.

      Affordable housing is the cost of shelter that is equal to or less than 30 percent of before-tax household income.

      According to the report, the studio units at the project are affordable to households with an income range of $60,000 - $69,000; one bedroom, $70,000 to $79,999; two bedrooms, $90,000 to $99,999; and three bedrooms, $125,000 to $149,999.

      In February 2019, Green councillor Adriane Carr brought forward a motion noting that 50 percent of Vancouver renter households earn less than $50,000 a year.

      According to Carr, affordable rents for half of Vancouver’s renter households should be, at the most, $1,250 per month or less.

      The 2601-2619 East Hastings Street project will have commercial spaces on the ground floor. Above will be 46 market rental units.

      The project site is at the northeast corner of  East Hastings and Penticton streets.