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Celebrate opening of Vancouver’s first land trust building

City donated $25 million in land to Vancouver land trust partnership to build 358 affordable homes

CITY OF VANCOUVER, October 22, 2017 — This morning the City marked the opening of The BRice, Vancouver’s first-ever land trust bringing 48 new protected affordable one-bedroom rental homes. In attendance to celebrate the opening of the new building was Harjit S. Sajjan, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson, Mayor Gregor Robertson, Thom Armstrong with The Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation, Dale McClanaghan and Bonnie Rice with Sanford Housing Society. The building is named after Bonnie Rice in recognition of her contribution to this project, as well as to affordable housing in generally in Vancouver.

Community land trusts are an innovative way of creating and preserving affordable housing. By removing land from the pressure of speculative markets, they protect housing affordability in the long term. Using this model, the City of Vancouver leased land worth $25 million for a nominal amount to the Land Trust for 99 years. As Vancouver’s housing crisis continues, Land Trusts will better enable non-profit housing societies and co-ops to combine their equity and with cities to develop and finance affordable housing.

The BRice is part of a portfolio of three sites providing a range of affordable housing options across different locations. Located at 1720 Kingsway, The BRice is the first completed building for the Community Land Trust Foundation partnership, an agreement between the governments of Canada and British Columbia, the City of Vancouver and the co-op and non-profit housing sector to build 358 secured affordable rental and co-op housing units in Vancouver.

The BRice will provide housing primarily for singles and couples, while the other two sites will be comprised of mostly family housing. 2780 SE Marine Drive and 2800 SE Marine Drive will provide 220 units, and 2910 E Kent Avenue South will provide 90 units.

Tenants at The BRice will be income tested to ensure they pay no more than 30 per cent of their income on rent to help ensure affordability for the tenant. Total annual household income will fall in the $49,999 to $69,500 range to qualify for the units. Tenant selection and on-going management for The BRice will be provided by Sanford Housing Society.

The land trust partnership to develop affordable housing is the first of its kind in Vancouver.

Harjit S. Sajjan, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South:
The Government of Canada is committed to working with provincial, municipal and non-profit partners to develop and implement innovative solutions to ensure affordable housing. The BRice represents an important step in tackling long-term housing affordability here in the Lower Mainland through practical, no-nonsense collaboration. I am thrilled to be at the grand opening today, and look forward to the success of other developments in this important initiative.

Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing:
We know there’s an urgent need for more affordable housing for people in the region and throughout B.C. We are proud to partner with the City of Vancouver, the federal government, and all of the Community Land Trust Foundation partners on this project, which offers people safe and affordable housing that meets their needs. We look forward to more innovative partnerships like this one to continue making life more affordable for British Columbians.

Mayor Gregor Robertson:
It’s rewarding to celebrate the opening of Vancouver’s first-ever land trust that will deliver affordable housing for people who live and work in Vancouver today and for years to come. Land Trusts are an innovative way to use City land to build affordable housing, protecting it from speculation and using it as an investment in the community. Huge thanks to all partners of the Community Land Trust Foundation who’ve worked over the years to bring this project to life.

Thom Armstrong, Executive Director, Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation and the Co-op Housing Federation of BC:
This is a moment we have been waiting to celebrate for some time. We know that our partners at Sanford Housing Society will do a terrific job of managing this property, and we can all be proud that this innovative partnership with the City of Vancouver is delivering the results we all hoped for. And this is just the beginning. Next spring and summer will see more than 300 affordable homes added to Vancouver’s River District through the community land trust’s partnership with the City.

Dale McClanaghan, Board Vice President, Sanford Housing Society:
Sanford Housing is excited to mark the opening of this community-originated project and to celebrate the event with our other non-profit equity investors, co-operators, government funders and the development team. The Society looks forward to operating this important community-controlled asset over the course of the next 90 years.

Garth Davis, Managing Director, New Market Funds:
It is great to see these forty-eight affordable, secure rental homes in the BRice being occupied under the strong local non-profit management of Sanford Housing Society. This is the first completed building as part of a visionary and innovative public/social/private partnership between the City of Vancouver, BC Housing, the Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation, Vancity Credit Union and New Market Funds that will see a total of 358 new rental affordable homes during 2018.

Innovative partnerships:

The partners of the Community Land Trust Foundation include

  • The Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation (owner)
  • Fraserview Housing Co-operative (operator and equity investor)
  • Sanford Housing Society (operator and equity investor)
  • Tikva Housing Society (operator and equity investor)
  • BC Housing (lender and equity investor)
  • New Market Funds (lender and equity investor)
  • City of Vancouver (landowner)

Land Trust Project Funding by partner for all three sites:

Source of Funds Type of Funds Amount
City of Vancouver Land $24.7 million
Governments of Canada and B.C. through the Canada-B.C. Agreement for Investment in Affordable Housing Equity $4 million
Government of B.C. Grant $500,000
Government of B.C. Construction Loan $90.3 million
Non-Profit Operators Equity $4.8 million
Lease of Kingsway Commercial Space Lease Income $4.9 million
New Market Funds Equity $11 million

 Unit mix & affordability:

The proposed unit mix and target group for each site is set out below:

  Total Units 1 bed 2 bed 3 bed Unit Type Target Group Operating Partner
1720 Kingsway 48 48 0 0 Apartments Low and Moderate Income Households Sanford Housing Society
Marine East
2800 SE Marine Drive
108 108 0 0 Apartments Low and Moderate Income Households Fraserview Housing Co-op
Marine West
2780 SE Marine Drive
80 20 50 10 Apartments Low and Moderate Income Families Fraserview Housing Co-op
Marine Townhouses
South of site
32 0 0 32 Townhouses Low and Moderate Income Families Tikva
Kent Avenue 90 0 35 55 Apartments & Townhouses Families Fraserview Co-op
Total 358 176 85 97      

For more information on the Land Trust:

Media contact:

City of Vancouver
Corporate Communications



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