Foul Bay townhouse developer asks to drop affordable housing covenant

Foul Bay townhouse developer asks to drop affordable housing covenant

Arzye Developments plans to build 18 townhouses on a half-acre lot in Victoria, and now they’re asking the city to remove a covenant that requires some of the units to be affordable.

In 2016, a fire raged through a 1911 heritage house at 902 Foul Bay Rd. that was, at one point, occupied by squatters. Now, it’s on the cusp of development.

When the project was approved, Arzye told the city that four units would be sold below market value.

Fast forward to today.

Melanie Ransome, director of communications and engagement at Aryze, says the company wants to remove that stipulation.

“We’re seeking the removal of the housing covenant at 902 Foul Bay Road. It’s a decision that has not come lightly for us,” Ransome said.

“But the focus on this development has always been on offering choice in a neighbourhood that hasn’t really seen much density or housing diversity.”

Aryze says if the project is to move forward at all, it will need to sell all of its units at the market rate.

“We started this project in 2019. The world’s changed a lot since then. We’ve had a pandemic, and interest rates have nearly tripled, going from three to nine per cent. And construction costs have increased by 50 per cent as well,” Ransome said.

“The economics of the project as it stands just are not really where we thought they would be.”

According to Aryze, there are just two townhomes for sale in the entire City of Victoria, underscoring the need for housing.

However, some residents are disappointed to hear about the change of plans.

“I have a daughter who is 26. She faces incredible challenges to get into the market. This was an opportunity that I saw younger people to stay in the community that they were raised in…and get on that ladder,” one local told CHEK News.

“So yeah, I’m disappointed.”

If council approves the change, Aryze plans to contribute to the community in another way, funding $60,000 in local improvements at either a local park or a nearby school.

WATCH: Potential housing solution facing challenges across Greater Victoria

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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