After years of stalling, one of the oldest development projects on the District of Mission’s books is moving forward.
Councillors approved a development application and zoning amendment on Nov. 16, to facilitate construction of a six-storey, 86-unit development on 2nd Avenue – but told staff to return to the owner to ask for a percentage of below-market rentals.
“We’re only going to have a finite opportunity to deal with developers and get them to provide a small amount of under-market suites,” said Coun. Cal Crawford. “I feel justified that this project could possibly be put through the hoops a little bit in order to justify the major changes that have taken place.”
The last time the project was before council was in 2016, but it stalled because of delays on the owners part, according to the staff report.
A new owner acquired the project in 2019, and has been more diligent about working towards its completion, staff said.
In the years since the original application, the district has made significant changes through its sustainable housing committee – such passing a density-bonusing bylaw in 2019.
The bylaw asks developers to provide 10 per cent of their units as below-market rentals in exchange for an increased number of units in certain areas of the community, such as the downtown core.
Staff said they would inquire about more affordable units, but warned against forcing any changes.
The original owner stalled in the application process because of a hesitation over the project’s viability, according to staff, and it only moved forward when they threatened to kill it.
Crawford said he didn’t feel it was an unreasonable ask, as the building has increased by over 4,000 square feet and now has 86 units, rather than 74 proposed in 2016.
“Even if we’d have got five per cent that would have been something,” Crawford said. “Ask them as a good corporate citizen … Without making it a deal killer.”
The development would bring the district just over halfway to this year’s goal in the 2020/2024 Housing Needs Assessment, which aims to create 149 new ownership units.
The building will have commercial space on the street level, and three levels of underground parking.