News

Burnaby selling piece of land for seniors housing project

A 2.5-acre, city-owned property is for sale, with Burnaby city hall wanting to see it developed into a non-profit seniors housing project.

According to the property bid package, the city is proposing to sell 16 lots at 5912 to 5988 Sunset St. and 5907 to 5989 Kincaid St., at Godwin Avenue, for a minimum acceptable bid of $9.25 million.

The minimum price is at a discount from the market price to make a seniors housing project there more economically viable, said Coun. Dan Johnston, vice-chair of the city’s community development committee.

There’s a shortage of affordable seniors housing in the city, he said. City hall hopes to help meet the demand by not only selling the land for such a project at a reasonable cost but also by placing a restrictive covenant on it to ensure it remains used for that purpose “so it couldn’t be purchased by someone and then flipped into multi-family housing or something.”

Non-profit housing projects don’t receive enough funding from senior governments, he said, so “this is how we try to work with that sector is to try and keep the cost of the land down.”

The properties were acquired by city hall over the last 20 years or so. The site would likely have been home originally to single-family houses, and back in the 1960s was designated for future townhouse development, he said.

Now Burnaby’s planning department is recommending the change in designated use.

“It’s more in the community’s interests in that area,” Johnston said, noting Dania Care Home is nearby and the property is close to transportation routes and transit.

The sale of the land is subject to city hall approving the successful bidder’s rezoning and subdivision applications and its preliminary plans for the site.

According to the bid package, the site is to be developed with underground parking and to a maximum height of four storeys, with a residential design including “pitched roofs and extensive landscaping.”

Potential uses of the site, all non-profit, are limited to seniors rental housing, seniors supportive housing, seniors complex care facilities, or a combination of such uses. A minor commercial component of less than 1,000 square feet, such as a cafe or convenience store to serve residents and visitors “may be supportable.”

Johnston said a couple of organizations had expressed interest in such a development in the past.

“We’re offering this site based on the suitability of the land use, the market will decide if there’s a need for it,” Johnston said. “We’re going to have a proposal call and if there’s a need we hope more than one group will come forward and there will be a bit of competition for it.”

Bids will be accepted until noon on April 18.

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