Just months away from the upcoming election, the federal government announced $13.25 million in funding for construction of a rental housing development set to open at 840 Fort St.
On Tuesday morning, Adam Vaughan, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, said the development known as The Sawyer Block, would be an ideal spot for working class residents who want to stay downtown.
“Our government is committed to building more rental housing to give hard-working middle-class Canadians much needed relief in tight rental markets,” Vaughan said. “Soon, the Sawyer Block will provide an affordable home for families and individuals near the heart of downtown Victoria, and that’s an achievement we can all be proud of.”
The heritage facade building will consist of 60 purpose-built rental micro lofts developed by the Salient Group. The six-storey building will host 44 studios and 16 “junior one-bedroom” homes, ranging in size from 285 to 325 sq. ft.
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“Even the junior one-bedrooms are quite compact, but they’ve been designed really cleverly to create livable spaces, lots of light. really oversized windows, and Juliet balconies to give people access to air,” said Robert Fung, president of The Salient Group. “Even though they’re compact they include in-suite laundry and the whole building is pet friendly as well.”
Ten per cent of the units are designed to be accessible for people using wheelchairs or with mobility issues. All of the units will also be slated as affordable units, with rents averaging below 30 per cent of the median household income in the area. While exact numbers weren’t released, Fung said rent would range between $995 and $1,495 per month.
So far The Salient Group has a waitlist going for the units.
Part of the bottom floor will also be marketed as retail space, though the 900 sq. ft. spaces have not been rented out to anyone yet.
Acting Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto was also in attendance at the announcement.
“[This] is exactly an example of what we hope to accomplish at other sites from across the city,” Alto said. “Every time we build additional rentals it helps, and obviously we have a long way to go .”
The Sawyer Block is set to open in December.
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