It all started with a phone call.
Developer Michael A. Culos called the chair of the Nelson CARES Society Ron Little and said, “Hey, I’ve got an idea.”
Now, after receiving a $4.5-million grant from the provincial government, 43 units of affordable housing are expected to be on the market by 2020.
That’s news Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall called “huge,” at a ground breaking ceremony held on the vacant lot at 205 Hall St.
“Forty-three units is no small number, especially for a community of our size. And knowing first-hand having worked with the social services before I was elected as MLA, I can tell you what this means to a lot of people in our area,” said Mungall. “To be able to have affordable housing, and to have that accessible to them, is going to be very positive.”
— Jake Sherman (@Jnsherms) April 25, 2019
And that is no small number, according to Nelson CARES executive director Jenny Robinson, who said that Nelson is expected to enter its sixth year with a zero per cent vacancy rate.
Culos Developments Group announced it purchased the property in August 2019, with plans to develop a $10.25-million, four-storey building.
Instead, the property was sold to Nelson CARES, who purchased the land after reaching a deal with Culos and BC Housing in November of last year.
Speaking at the press conference, Culos said that over 80 per cent of the labour and materials used for construction will be local.
He also praised the city, the Columbia Basin Trust, BC Housing and Nelson CARES, who have worked in partnership to get the project off the ground.
“These just don’t happen. I’ve sat on committees and countless boards, but without committed partnerships like the ones here, this just doesn’t happen,” said Culos.
According to a media release, the units of affordable housing will be geared towards low to moderate income families and seniors once it’s completed.
The development will also include office space for the Nelson CARES, which will own and operate the development.
Culos said he expects concrete to be in the ground next month. The project is expected to be completed in fall of 2020.
The City of Nelson has provided $27,000 of funding for the project, and the Columbia Basin Trust has contributed $542,400.
The SHARE Housing Society also has approval to build a $10-million, five-storey building at 520 Falls St. That’ll mean Nelsonites can expect to see 82 units of affordable housing on the market by 2022.
Those projects are part of the provincial government’s $1.9-billion investment in a community housing fund expected to help construct more than 14,000 affordable rental homes for seniors, families, and low and middle income earners.