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Private-public partnership critical to Port Moody housing proposal

Private-public partnership critical to Port Moody housing proposal

Hundreds of affordable rental units. Vast green spaces. Thanks to a partnership between BC Housing and Edgar Development, that’s what Port Moody residents can potentially look forward to.

On July 21, Port Moody City Council voted to advance the Woodland Park redevelopment proposal. If the proposal passes the final vote in October, Edgar Development will turn the current site, which contains 200 townhomes built in the 1960s, into more than 2,000 homes.  

“We’re building a small village,” said Peter Edgar, President of Edgar Development. 

The redevelopment will offer a mix of strata homes, market rentals, and below-market rentals—that’s where BC Housing comes in. 

With $140 million in financing, BC Housing will fund the below-market rental component, which includes up to 325 homes. In exchange, Edgar Development will provide five acres of land to BC Housing for free. 

Brad Foster, Senior Development Manager at BC Housing, said private-public partnerships are key to creating affordable housing. 

“Edgar came to the table with a valuable and substantial piece of land, which for us is very important because free land decreases the overall cost of what it takes to build affordable housing,” Foster said. 

“If your costs are too high, it's very difficult to build affordable housing in terms of charging lower rents.” 

From Edgar Development’s view, the deal means less financial liability and greater opportunity to create affordable housing, an important mission to the real estate firm. 

“For us to be able to provide the magnitude of true, affordable, secure housing that we wanted to as part of this development, there's no way we could have done it without BC Housing,” Edgar said. 

Edgar Development is offering unique benefits to current Woodland Park residents. 

Typically, when housing gets redeveloped, tenants must relocate during construction. But because Woodland Park will be redeveloped over several phases, tenants will have the option to stay onsite. 

For current tenants who don’t qualify for affordable housing through the province, Edgar Development is offering units at 20% below-market rent. 

“These are a couple of the special things we are able to bring to real families, real people who live at Woodland Park today,” Edgar said. 

The project, which will increase Port Moody’s social-housing supply by 50%, will also attract new residents in need of affordable housing. 

“The housing will really appeal to the kind of folks living at Woodland Park now. Seniors, working families, younger people looking for their first home,” Foster said. 

In addition to housing, the redevelopment will have several new amenities. 

The project includes a grocery store, a 12,000 sq ft childcare facility, and two new public parks, with a general focus on green space. 

“We've created open green spaces between buildings, and we've put townhomes at the base of every building as well. It's really designed to accommodate families, so when you open your townhome door, you step right onto some green space,” Edgar said. 

Foster hopes the project will spark more private-public partnerships. 

“My hope is that it will send signals to other developers,” Foster said, “that if you come to the table in a substantial way with BC Housing, we can really move mountains together.”