A housing complex is being built in an attempt to make life more affordable for hospitality workers in Victoria.
The building, in Victoria’s Quadra Village neighbourhood, is owned by the Greater Victoria Housing Society.
It’s currently a 19-unit apartment building, but an $18-million project will see it turned into a 40-unit building with reduced rent geared for workers in Victoria’s hospitality industry.
Greater Victoria Housing Society executive director Virginia Holden says the project has been in the works for several years.
“It was really on hold because it just started to cost too much to build it,” she said Friday. “Building affordable housing is hard.”
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Funding through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is still in the works, but the City of Victoria recently approved $2.5 million for the build.
“We’ve finally had a project come to us that met the criteria,” says Victoria Coun. Jeremy Caradonna.
That money comes from a partnership with Destination Greater Victoria, generated by taxes from online booking platforms like Airbnb.
Destination Greater Victoria CEO Paul Nursey would like to see this partnership model used for future housing projects.
“We get between $800,000 and $900,000 a year in Airbnb [taxes] in the City of Victoria, but it could provide a template for future projects,” he said.
Lara Ryde is a server at Moon Under Water Brewery and Pub. She moved here from Montreal and says Victoria’s bleak rental prospects are discouraging for people in the industry.
“I’ve seen the ads on Facebook Marketplace,” she says. “It’s like $1,900 for a tiny garden suite that doesn’t have a kitchen. It’s a bit of a joke actually.”
The new building, at 2558 Quadra St., is expected to have one and two bedroom suites as well as studio apartments.