Tenant displacement thwarted in Esquimalt as housing society buys 16-unit apartment building

Tenant displacement thwarted in Esquimalt as housing society buys 16-unit apartment building
Photo: Colliers Canada
860 Carrie St. is seen in this picture provided by Colliers Canada.

People living in an Esquimalt apartment building that was for sale and slated for redevelopment can rest assured they won’t be displaced now that a housing society has purchased it.

The B.C. government says Vancouver-based Lu’ma Native Housing Society is buying the 16-unit building at 860 Carrie St. for $5.3 million, putting a stop to any potential tenant displacement.

Built in 1971, the building has four studios and 12 one-bedroom units, and the lot size is about 12,500 square feet, or 0.2 acres, according to BC Assessment.

B.C.’s housing ministry, in a news release Wednesday, says “the building was listed for sale and was at risk of redevelopment and potential tenant displacement.”

It says residents can stay there at the same rents, and as units become vacant, Lu’ma will make them available to Indigenous people.

Mayor Barb Desjardins is thrilled that “people who are already part of the community can stay in the community,” adding, “Not only are we seeing the positive effects today, but we’ll see value in the future as spaces open up for Indigenous households.”

The property is now listed as “Sold” on Colliers Canada’s website, where it’s noted the “entire building and all suites have undergone significant renovations.”

The province says Lu’ma will also update the roof and exterior, with further renos planned for three units. It says no tenancies will be disrupted as work is underway.

The CEO of Lu’ma Development Management, an Indigenous-led social-purpose real estate development company, is looking forward to what’s to come.

“At Lu’ma, we envision a future where Indigenous people thrive through self-determination and are connected to their communities and traditions, and we look forward to implementing this service delivery model in Esquimalt,” said CEO Dave Ward.

READ ALSO: ‘Incredibly stressful time’: Rents continue to rise in Greater Victoria, with low vacancy rates

The purchase is through a $3-million contribution from the Rental Protection Fund, which is part of B.C.’s Homes for People action plan to address the crucial need for new Indigenous housing throughout the province.

Lu’ma will pay off the balance through low-interest financing.

“The goal of the Rental Protection Fund is to ensure people and families, including those living in these 16 homes, will have the security and safety of staying in the place they know and the community they love,” added Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon in the release.

Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin, says she looks forward to seeing the fund’s impact on the tenants, and thanks Lu’ma for planning for much-needed Indigenous-focused housing within the municipality.

READ ALSO: Esquimalt development application to add 2-storeys fails in tie vote

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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