Toronto passes motion to explore purchase of west-end rooming house to boost affordable housing supply

·2 min read
Coun. Joe Cressy says: 'By purchasing the Parkview Arms, the City will be able to ensure that the property and rooms remain affordable.' (Yanjun Li/CBC - image credit)
Coun. Joe Cressy says: 'By purchasing the Parkview Arms, the City will be able to ensure that the property and rooms remain affordable.' (Yanjun Li/CBC - image credit)

The City of Toronto has unanimously passed a motion to explore the purchase of a west end rooming house to boost its affordable housing supply.

Coun. Joe Cressy, who represents Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York, said last week that the city had entered into an agreement that gives it the first right of refusal to buy the Parkview Arms, a rooming house at 935 Queen St. W., across from Trinity-Bellwoods Park. It contains 58 rooms.

Mayor John Tory's executive committee considered the item at its meeting on Wednesday morning. It was moved unopposed and the item will now be considered by council on Nov. 9.

According to the council agenda, the funding for the city to buy the rooming house would come from the sale of a city-owned property at 249 Queens Quay West.

That property is tenanted by the Silver Hotel Group, which operates the Radisson Blu Toronto Downtown.

The property had been identified by the city "as an under-leveraged asset that could be better utilized to support other city building opportunities."

The net proceeds of the sale of the property would go towards the funding of the city's new Multi-Unit Residential Acquisitions Program (MURA), which grants funds to non-profit housing organizations or community land trusts to purchase and convert "at-risk private market affordable rental housing" into affordable housing.

"By purchasing the Parkview Arms, the City will be able to ensure that the property and rooms remain affordable," Cressy said in a news release.

Cressy said Toronto lost 266 affordable rooms in rooming houses from 2014 to 2016. The properties were sold off and redeveloped.

Acquiring properties such as the Parkview Arms will help the city to preserve and protect existing affordable housing, he said.

"Toronto is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. By acquiring properties like the Parkview Arms, we can proactively ensure that valuable affordable housing in our downtown communities is not lost," he said.

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