Plans for a six-storey housing development on 11th Avenue in downtown Castlegar are still progressing, according to the project’s developer Ken Umbarger.
The $15.2 million project first came before Castlegar city council in August 2021 when the developers applied for a zoning variance for a 70-unit building at 502 11th Avenue, behind Castle Wood Village, on the site of a development that stalled more than 20 years ago at the foundation stage. The first storey will be below street level, resulting in five storeys visible from 11th Avenue. Council approved the variance in September 2021.
Since that time, the developers have been working on the prerequisites for a development permit including land surveys, a geotechnical report, a traffic study and an infrastructure study.
“We await council’s action on the provision of financial incentives consistent with other municipalities, namely waiving development cost charges and providing a period of property tax abatements,” said Umbarger.
“We have been working in concert with the local chamber of commerce to encourage incentives that will be conducive to much needed progress in the community.”
Umbarger also said that market conditions such as rising construction costs, supply shortages and rising interest rates are closing this window of opportunity, so time is of the essence.
The developers are looking to secure financing through Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. CMHC requires the total rental income be at least 10 per cent below the average rates for the area and that at least 20 per cent of the units be priced at or below the city’s median household income. Both of those things have to be maintained for at least 10 years.
Eighty per cent of the units will be considered “affordable” housing and the rest will be rented at market value. Affordable in this case means at or below the median household income, which in Castlegar is $68,800 per year or $5,700 per month. Bachelor suites would start at $700 per month, two-bedroom units at $1,435 per month, and two bedroom plus a den at $1,742 per month.