Maple Ridge council is making a small dent in the housing crisis by requiring a developer to sign on to a plan to keep 288 new apartments – for rent only – forever.
Council in July gave third reading to a housing agreement between it and Viam Holdings (Amacon) that specifies that the new buildings that replace the Sunrise Apartments on 122nd Avenue, will be for rent, rather than condos. Sunrise Apartments was heavily damaged by a March 2015 fire, putting about 100 people out of their rental apartments.
The housing agreement applies to all 288 apartments and remains on the buildings in perpetuity and will be registered on the title for the 2.5-acre property.
“We’re super grateful,” said Mayor Nicole Read.
“We’ve been really lucky here,” in Maple Ridge, Read added. “We’ve had a number of applications come forward to build rentals and we need them. It’s really good that we’re seeing so many rentals come online.”
The agreement also says that apartments can only be rented month by month and says that the land cannot be subdivided.
Amacon is building two apartment buildings on 222nd Street and 121st Avenue which will contain one- two- and three-bedroom units. One of those buildings will be built on the site of the former Sunrise Apartments.
The company is offering tenants now living in the second building, the Sorrento Apartments at 22260 – 122nd Ave., first choice of units in the new apartment building. In addition, those 39 tenants will be guaranteed that their new rents will be only a maximum of $100 more than what they were paying in their old building.
One of the tenants in the Sorrento on Friday confirmed that was the case but she was anxious to see construction begin.
If Sorrento Apartment residents don’t want to move into the new building, they can move to some of Amacon’s other older buildings.
All residents of the Sorrento will also get the equivalent of three months rental payments, whether they choose to move into the new building or move out entirely.
Once the Sorrento is vacant, it can too can demolished, allowing construction of the second new building.
In all, the 54 units at the Sunrise and the 41 units at the Sorrento will be replaced by a total of 288 new apartments.
The city is creating a tenant relocation assistance policy to set guidelines that can apply to future proposals to redevelop low-rent housing.
The agreement also states that the owner agrees if rental suites are not preserved, a court order preventing any other use of the suites than for rental would be issued.