The City of Vancouver has said a benefit of entering into this Land Exchange Contract with Brenhill developments is the increase in social housing. The 1099 Richards building replaces only the 87 units of social housing in the Jubilee House. The remaining 75 units will provide housing to individuals at low-end of market rents. The development application admits that those 75 units will likely host a range of levels of income, yet it repeatedly falsely refers to these small apartments to be rented at market rates as “social housing”. This is a direct attempt to mislead the public that more social housing is being built at the 1099 Richards site (see full details here)
As our court dates loomed, I began reviewing the sizes of the planned apartments at 1099 Richards. The other units at 1099 Richards are very small for-profit rental units. I looked up again how small they were, and what they were renting for (see 1099 Richards Street Development Permit Board Report, July 31, 2013):
There will be 34 tiny (320 sq. ft) studio apartments and 41 tiny (~350 sq. ft) 1-bedroom units, which will be initially rented at so-called “low end of market” rates with a combined average rent of $1142 per month.
What struck this time was that on a per square foot basis, these rents are actually quite expensive—and profitable.
If we apply this same $ per sq. ft ratio to a 500 sq. ft. apartment, it would rent for $2,500. For that rent, you might instead consider this fully furnished 500 sq.ft. Yaletown apartment, renting at a lower price per square foot at $1550:
If we apply this same $ per sq. ft ratio to a 1400 sq. ft. apartment, it would rent for $4,375. For that rent, you might instead consider this 1400 sq. ft. luxury apartment with water views, renting at a lower price per square foot at $3980:
The rents at 1099 Richards are decidedly higher per square foot than these much more desirable units currently on the market.
What makes the apartments at 1099 Richards merit being called “low end of market” rentals?
Aren’t they simply tiny units, rented at very profitably at prices above average rates in the neighbourhood?
Additionally, does it also warrant allowing Brenhill to build a 36-storey, 100% for-profit tower on Emery Barnes Park? And if people are living in 320 sq. ft, won’t they need more park space to escape to?
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