Affordable housing complex slated for Ladner Trunk Rd.
A non-profit housing company based out of Toronto is nearing a deal with a landowner that would bring affordable housing units to Ladner.
Omar Lalani of Options for Homes says their group has made an offer on the property at 5571 Ladner Trunk Rd.—currently the site of the Hong Kong Inn restaurant and Oki Doki Sushi at 55b Street—and is waiting to hear whether the owner will accept.
Options wants to develop a 30-unit affordable housing project, similar to the ones they’ve already built in Toronto.
The site is already in the process of being rezoned to a accommodate a four-storey building with three levels of residential units and one level of parking. A public hearing and third reading on the site took place on May 29, 2012.
Lalani made a presentation at Ladner Pentecostal Church in front of about 100 people in November to gauge the level of support in the community. There was a 10 minute presentation followed by a public discussion.
A longtime advocate of affordable housing in Delta, Pastor Danny Stebeck said he thinks the venture is a noble one.
“My frustration is I get young couples in here and they want to get going and get started, get a job and buy a house,” he said. “I hate it when they say, I found a house in Mission.”
Stebeck said people can buy a house in other communities for the price of a one-bedroom condo in Delta.
“It’s one thing to create jobs but where are they going to live,” he said. “You’re talking about a warehouse job where they’re going to get $12 an hour and driving from the far side of Surrey or outside of Cloverdale.”
The housing wouldn’t be for people on welfare either, Stebeck said. It’s for people working entry level positions in Delta who want to live here as well.
Lalani said research has now given Options a good sense of the market need in Ladner and who some of homeowners might be.
“This site is close to transit and within walking distance of schools and grocery stores,” he said. “It is walkable, which is something that we look for.”
Options for Homes of Greater Vancouver is the local chapter of a Toronto-based affordable housing non-profit corporation that started in 1993. Options operates like any market-driven housing developer without subsidies or donation, and simply builds housing that is geared towards those looking for an affordable home ownership option.
The main difference between Options and a profit-driven developer is that the non-profit company provides down payment assistance for its home owners through a shared-appreciation mortgage.
This is seen as one of the main barriers to access for first-time home buyers and effectively lowers the cost of homeownership, says Lalani.
The Vancouver chapter for Options was opened in 2010 by Lalani and Philip Chou.
“The challenge here with affordable housing is that land values are extremely high,” said Chou. “We are competing with private developers for the same pieces of land. Because we don’t have the same resources as them, we have to be a little bit more creative and entrepreneurial in how we operate.”
Condominiums are sold at cost before construction. Although it’s too early to know how much the units would be sold for, the Options website states a 660-square-foot one-bedroom unit that costs $270,000 on the open market would cost about $190,000 through Options.