Mission Flats

The Mission Flats apartments building, shown here under construction in November 2017, is the largest all-rental complex ever built in Kelowna. The apartment vacancy rate has risen from historic lows to about two per cent, but $320,000 of public money should still be given to builders of new housing projects, city council will hear today.

The builders of six Kelowna housing projects will split city grants totalling $320,000.

Payments range from a high of $147,000 for the developer of a 175-suite project at 333 Drysdale Boulevard to $21,000 for a 36-home project at a 1149 Sutherland Ave.

The city provides the grants to stimulate the construction of new rental projects when apartment vacancy rates are particularly low. The current vacancy rate is two per cent, up from 0.2 per cent in 2017 and 0.6 per cent in 2016.

The vacancy rate has increased largely because of the record number of purpose-built rental units, almost 1,100, that were constructed across Kelowna in 2017.

That was above the city’s annual goal of 400 new rental units, and far in excess of the annual average of just 52 that were constructed annually between 2011 and 2015.

The grants are intended to offset some of the development cost charges the builders of new residential projects must pay to the city.

A report going to council today states the grants represent about a six per cent reduction in those DCC fees.

In addition to receiving the grants, builders of purpose-built rental projects can apply for a 10-year reduction in their municipal property taxes. Most of the developers who are receiving the housing grants are also expected to apply for the tax break as well.

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