Ottawa announces funding for 60 Victoria micro-suites

Published Tuesday, August 20, 2019 1:47PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 20, 2019 1:59PM PDT

The federal government is helping to fund a new six-storey, 60-unit micro-suite apartment building in Victoria.

The Sawyer Block at 840 Fort St. will consist of small units geared towards workers in the technology and services sectors.

The units will range in size from 285 square feet for studio apartments to 358 square feet for one-bedroom units. Six of the suites will be wheelchair accessible.

"On day one, all the units in the building will be at below 30 per cent of median household incomes in the area," said Robert Fung, president of developer Salient Group. “The Sawyer Block is a purpose-built rental housing project that is intended to provide attainable and secure workforce housing for the growing region."

The micro-lofts are designed as compact urban suites with windows offering lots of daylight and over-height ceilings. The units will also have amenities like in-suite laundry and access to a communal rec room.

"There is a common amenity deck that will have barbeques and a community garden," said Fung. "It will be a space where people can just hang out."

The project is receiving $13.25 million in funding through the federal government's Rental Construction Financing initiative (RCFi), a National Housing Strategy program. The program supports affordable rental housing construction projects that encourage a stable supply of rental housing for middle-class families.

"Soon, the Sawyer Block will provide an affordable home for families and individuals near the heart of downtown Victoria," said Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Adam Vaughan.

"Our government is committed to building more rental housing to give hard-working middle-class Canadians much-needed relief in tight rental markets."

The Sawyer Block is one of the first projects in Victoria to receive financing support under the RCFi.

"The Sawyer Block is built for Victorians," said Fung. "Our goal is that Victorians embrace this neighbourhood and continue to make it as vibrant as it is now, but also really relevant to the future."

The ground floor of the building will include retail space. The Sawyer Block is scheduled to be ready for occupancy in the fall.