Residential Intensification Makes Room for Much-needed Seniors’ Housing
A residential intensification project in Halifax Regional Municipality has more than tripled the number of affordable housing units available on a former school property. Developed by the Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation, the Ida Mae Marriott building opened in March 2012 and now provides 21 affordable apartments for seniors and persons with disabilities.
“The school building was getting older and it wasn’t cost effective to upgrade,” explained Neil MacDonald, Director of Housing Services at Nova Scotia Department of Community Services. “There was enough land for a larger building, so we were able to accommodate 21 apartments instead of the original six.”
The new affordable housing is named after the Ida Mae Marriott School that once stood on the site. After the school was closed in 1982, the building had been converted into six apartments for people with disabilities.
Over the next three decades, however, the cost of upgrades and repairs added up. Recognizing that the school property offered an ideal opportunity for residential intensification, housing officials decided to demolish the former school building and replace it with a much larger, modern housing project. Construction began in 2010 and was completed in 2012.
Located in the community of Spryfield, the Ida Mae Marriott is a three-storey building that provides 18 one-bedroom apartments and three two-bedroom apartments for seniors and persons with disabilities. Accessibility features include wider doors and hallways, level thresholds, non-slip flooring, lever handles and lower light switches. There is also a common room on the first floor. The project is managed by the Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority.
Ida Mae Marriott was also built to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ® Silver standard for energy and water efficiency, with in-floor radiant heat, high-efficiency appliances, dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets. In addition to being more environmentally sustainable, these features improve the long-term affordability of the housing and enhance occupant comfort.
The $2.6 million project was jointly funded by the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia under the stimulus phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan (CEAP), which included one-time federal investments of $400 million for new housing for low-income seniors and $75 million for housing for persons with disabilities.