By Theresa McManus
April 19, 2023
A new rental development in uptown New West will be providing affordable homes for a number of seniors.
On Tuesday, PC Urban Properties Corp. broke ground on a 29-storey, concrete tower with 338 purpose-built rental homes. The building will include 10 units of affordable housing, which will be operated by the New West-based Seniors Services Society of BC.
“We are delighted to be working with PC Urban and their team on this project. Given the current housing challenges, older adults are the one demographic that have been impacted the most,” Alison Silgardo, CEO of Senior Services Society of BC, told the Record. “The 10 units of below-market housing at the new building is an ideal location, with units located at the lower levels, surrounded by everything an older adult would need to live independently, including transit, retail, a community centre and medical support.”
Located on a 0.8 acre site at 616 to 640 Sixth St., the project will include street-level retail and 500 square feet of below-market commercial space for charitable organization.
According to PC Urban, the new tower will provide a significant addition of new purpose-built rental to the city.
“As such, this new project will offer an injection of much-needed, rental homes. New Westminster has the highest percentage of renters in Metro Vancouver, with the lowest vacancy rates in the region, currently below one per cent,” said a press release from the developer. “With a 7.6 per cent population growth rate, this new rental offering aims to alleviate growing demand for rental housing in the area.”
Fewer than 100 rental units have been created in the Uptown neighbourhood in the last 10 years, said the press release.
“We are excited to expand our purpose-built residential portfolio with this new concrete tower and to help boost the rental options in this area,” said Brent Sawchyn, CEO of PC Urban Properties. “We are proud to integrate the affordable seniors’ rental into the building so that this is a complete community. We recognize the need for more rental housing options in New West, and we believe everyone deserves a home.”
Construction is now underway with completion and occupancy expected in late 2025.
“The City of New Westminster is pleased to support PC Urban Properties, and the first major new residential development in Uptown in a decade,” said Mayor Patrick Johnstone. ” With the long-term commitment to market rental and walkable commercial space, this new project will meet the housing needs of our growing community and bring a refreshed streetscape to Uptown. This project has a well-integrated and accessible design that aligns with the city’s official community plan and will be a great addition to the neighbourhood.”
The project has garnered its share of headlines during its journey through the approval process at city hall. In 2019, the project’s original applicant, Orr Development Corp. proposed a mixed-use building that included strata and rental units (and separate amenities and entrances for owners and renters). A revamped proposal put forward at a later date proposed construction of an all-renters building.
PC Urban is no building the project on the uptown site that was formerly home to a variety of commercial businesses, including the Waffle House and the New West Cobbler.