Huge housing project planned for Terrace, B.C.

Part of plan involves affordable housing deal struck with Terrace council

A housing mega-complex planned for a section of land bounded by Kenney and Park in the Horseshoe will be the largest such development in Terrace since the 1980s.

Details have emerged of Calgary-based Coast to Coast Holdings Inc.’s plans for what could be more than 180 apartment and townhouse units to be built by combining nearly 5.5 acres assembled through two private sales and a land purchase from the city.

Most of the land was once the home of a provincial government highways maintenance yard but the buildings were taken down more than 20 years ago and the land was subdivided and sold off.

Now Coast to Coast owns these two parcels as well as another small parcel immediately north of them.

The property that the city sold to Coast to Coast is right on the corner of Kenney and Park and is planned to be a 105-unit apartment complex.

Beside it is planned another housing complex with at least 70-75 units. North of that, toward the corner of Walsh and Kenney, will be a six-unit townhouse complex, for which a development permit has already been applied for.

The city is selling its 2.4 acre parcel for $951,000, far more than the minimum asking price of $408,000 when it sought bids on the property earlier this year.

This means more money than first contemplated for a city-sponsored affordable housing fund policy which it is in the middle of crafting.

City development services director David Block is describing the proposed development as a double win for the city’s efforts to increase the amount of affordable housing.

Not yet fully fleshed out, the city does want to provide grants to nonprofit groups to build their own affordable housing or to purchase lands upon which future affordable housing developments can be built, he said.

And the second win for affordable housing, according to Block, will take the form of allowing more units to be built on the land than normally permitted in return for Coast to Coast providing affordable housing of its own at the location.

Affordable, in this case, means 20 per cent below market value on the sale of a condo, for instance, and rental rates of 20 per cent less than for similar other units in the complex, said Block.

The criteria for determining who qualifies will be based on statements of income, he added.

“In a tough [housing] market it will provide affordability to workers earning less,” said Block of the deal being reached between the city and Coast to Coast.

Despite the affordability plan, Block said that the aim of this project is not for housing that would be affordable to those on social assistance or the unemployed, but that for people for instance working in retail, they can expect the right price.

Coast to Coast plans to begin construction of the 102-105 unit development this summer as well as the six townhouses north of that. A Coast to Coast development permit application filed with the city describes its townhouse plans as “an attractive design with varied site setback.”

The company has applied for a variance permit to reduce the buffer along the sides by half from six to three metres and also for a modification of the front landscaping buffer to make room for parking spots.