Ontario Construction News staff writer
The City of St. Catharines, Niagara Region, and Niagara Regional Housing (NRH) have joined forces to build 80 units of supportive and affordable housing over three phases.
“I am excited to see this property moving forward,” said St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe. “It has been a complicated road to get here, but I am confident in NRH’s ability to quickly build the bridge and affordable housing that our community so desperately needs. Let’s get those shovels in the ground.”
A building was demolished on the city-owned property to make way for a mixture of bridge housing, NRH affordable housing (townhouses) and land for private market development.
“The investments we are making into 320 Geneva Street are yet another example of Regional Council’s steadfast commitment to increase the supply of affordable and attainable housing in Niagara,” said Regional Chair Jim Bradley, Niagara Region.”
There are currently more than 6,600 applicants for affordable housing in St. Catharines including about 2,400 families.
The property will be sold to NRH this summer.
“Niagara Regional Housing is thrilled to work with the City of St. Catharines and Niagara Region on the development of new affordable housing units in St. Catharines,” said Board Chair Gary Zalepa, Niagara Regional Housing. “By providing a mix of housing options such as supportive housing and affordable rental units, future tenants will be able to find a housing unit that best meets their needs as well as resources designed to assist them with future opportunities.
‘Once complete, these homes will help to foster a broader sense of community for all future tenants.”
Phase one is a four-storey building with 36 bridge housing and 12 supportive housing units.
Before the end of 2023, a request for proposals (RFP) for the design of this phase is expected to be issued, environmental site assessment work, the award for design and permit/site planning are expected to be completed. An RFP for construction will be issued early in 2024, followed by an award and construction commencing. This phase is expected to be completed by mid-2025.
The second phase of the project (NRH affordable housing – townhouses) would see the construction of 36 affordable housing units. These houses, which are geared to income (30 per cent of gross household income) are envisioned to consist of stacked and back-to-back townhouses.
The environmental site assessment and cleanup of the property is expected to begin in late in 2023 and be completed by the fall of 2024. The RFP and award for design is expected to happen directly after, followed by the RFP and award for construction. Ground is expected to be broken in mid-2025 and be completed in the summer of 2026.
Phase three will include environmental site assessment work and cleanup at the same time as phase two. The third phase, which encompasses approximately 50 per cent of the property, will be marketed and sold by NRH at fair market value to help offset the cost of the other units.
Construction of the 82-84 new units will result in an investment estimated to be between $27 million and $30 million in the property.