When Richard Beaudry looked into how he could redevelop his property in Ahuntsic in the north end of Montréal, he was advised by an architect to demolish the original building — which had housed his catering business for 30 years — and build new. So he did just that, tearing down the original building that had been built in 1982 and creating a 10-unit apartment building in its place. Five of the new units are affordable.
“I knew it was time to make a change, but I knew that I would not be building condominiums. For me, it was more important to be able to offer quality rental units to those who do not necessarily have the means to be property owners,” said the 76-year-old Beaudry, who has a long history of helping those in need in his community, including providing affordable rental housing and home-cooked meals to people with mental illness.
To help develop the property, Beaudry provided the land as equity and received $10,000 in Seed Funding from CMHC, which helped pay for the architect’s fees. Additionally, he was able to benefit from CMHC’s mortgage loan insurance flexibilities, which allowed for a smaller down payment and a lower insurance premium.
“The Seed Funding is a real plus for entrepreneurs like myself, because it helped pay for expenses. And the mortgage flexibilities meant that I could afford to make half my rentals more affordable than what’s on the market,” said Beaudry.
Construction on the project began in 2013 and was completed in February 2014, although the majority of the tenants had already moved into the building by October 2013. Residents enjoy a strong sense of community. The five affordable units rent for between $750 a month for a one-bedroom and $800 a month for a two-bedroom in 2014. By comparison, the other five market units, which are larger and include two-storey “penthouses,” rent from $975 to $1,350 a month.
Features in the new development include gas heating, central air, bamboo floors, washer, dryer and dishwasher hookups and a storage area in the basement. All the units have a balcony or terrace. The bamboo flooring over a one-inch concrete slab means the apartments are well insulated against noise. Five parking spaces are also available.
“I am proud to be able to give residents access to new units that are also close to all amenities and that are still within Montréal. I think you might have to go outside of Montréal to find something similar for the same price,” he added.