Jan 2010 26

Mini Rents for New ‘micro lofts’

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Affordable housing is becoming more of a reality for low income citizens in downtown Vancouver with a new addition on the block.

With rents starting at a modest $675 for an apartment about the size of two parking spaces, the recently renovated bachelor apartments are in a heritage building, the previously condemned century-old Burns Block, in the troubled Downtown Eastside.

The suites, at 270 square feet, are being called "micro lofts" and are the smallest self-contained rental suites in the city. They will be available in March 2011.

Renters get their own bathroom and kitchen, with access to nearby Pigeon Park across Hastings Street.

The suites are priced so they're affordable to someone earning $25,000 a year or working at a job that pays about $12 per hour.

The $5 million project is a partnership between Reliance Properties and ITC Construction Group, the largest construction company in Western Canada based on volume.

The city contributed a $50,000 grant to fix the heritage building's face, a total of $144,000 in property-tax reductions spread over 10 years and 62,000 square feet in heritage bonus density.  

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