Federal government backs affordable rental housing project in Halifax

·2 min read
The new building is expected to be completed by the second half of 2024 (BANC Group of Companies - image credit)
The new building is expected to be completed by the second half of 2024 (BANC Group of Companies - image credit)

The federal government announced Wednesday that it will provide a $115.5-million, low-cost loan to a Halifax-based developer to include 76 affordable rental units in a building it plans to construct.

The Interchange, a 12-storey, multi-use building, is to be built at 3514 Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax.

Funding to BANC Investments will be provided through a Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation program.

Regional council approved amendments to municipal bylaws in July 2020 to allow for construction.

Ministry of Families, Children and Social Development
Ministry of Families, Children and Social Development

Speaking at a virtual conference on Wednesday afternoon, Alex Halef, the president of BANC Investments, said the planned completion date for the project is in 2024.

Mixing affordable units with upscale project

According to Halef, one of his main concerns was the feasibility of including affordable rental units in an upscale building.

He said he was able to work with the CMHC to ensure that the planned units met its standards while not compromising his own standards.

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Google Maps

Halef said the current median income of the area is $89,510.

According to a press release, the project will be required to maintain at least 76 units with rents at or below 30 per cent of the median household income in the area, which would work out to a maximum monthly rent of $2,237.75.

Sixty-five of those units will have rents that would max out at $1,566.42 per month.

Affordability will be maintained for a minimum of 21 years.

Accessibility a priority

The building will have barrier-free access and 33 of the units in the building will meet or exceed local accessibility standards.

Ahmed Hussen, the minister of families, children and social development, said the pandemic has shown the importance of affordable shelter at a time when people were being told to stay home and stay safe.

"Now, more than ever, we do need programs like the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, which is supporting the construction of new affordable housing in Nova Scotia and across Canada," Hussen said in the virtual press conference.

"These projects are putting the needs of Canadians first while stimulating the local economy and creating good middle class jobs when they need it the most."

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