Yesterday, Westbank Corp and the Federal Government announced $200 million in financing to provide affordable rental units in the multi-tower Mirvish Village development at Bloor and Bathurst streets in Downtown Toronto. Formerly the Home of Honest Eds, the project began redevelopment efforts after the sale of the property that the discount department store and neighbouring galleries and shops of 'Mirvish Village' stood on in 2013. The new Mirvish Village is set to include 916 rental units, 225,000+ ft² of retail, offices, and community uses upon its completion, along with new public green spaces.

Rendering of Bloor Streetscape at Mirvish Village, image courtesy of Peterson Rentals

Of the rental units that will be housed in the project, over a third (366) will be designated affordable due to the newly announced funding. The rents for these units will be capped at 30% of the city's median monthly income. 100 of those units will be designated ‘deeply affordable’, secured at 80% of the average market rate in Toronto. This could result in rental rates as low as $1,000 for a one-bedroom unit, which the City reports as $1,270 per month on-average. (Other sources, such as Padmapper–an apartment listing site, peg the average Toronto one-bedroom apartment rent at $2,300 per month.) 

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, along with Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development Ahmed Hussen, Councillor Mike Layton, and Mayor John Tory, among others, were on hand to make the announcement on Thursday. 

Common area at Mirvish Village, image courtesy of Peterson Rentals

Funding for the affordable suites is being allocated through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) Rental Construction Financial Initiative (RCFI), a program that lends financing to developers at lower than average interest rates as an incentive to build purpose-built rental units and affordable housing. As the cheapest construction financing option available—by a 100-to-300 basis point margin—the RCFI program is intended to persuade developers to construct purpose-built rental units rather than condominiums. (Condos are typically the more profitable of the two residential housing options from a developer perspective.) The most prominent rental buildings that have been built in Toronto in recent years, such as The Selby, The Livmore, and Montgomery Square have been built without government funding, and were aimed at the luxury market.

Looking southeast to the Mirvish Village construction site within its context, image by Forum contributor Jasonzed

The affordable units at Mirvish Village will be scattered throughout the development so that they will have the same design and quality as their market-rate counterparts. Affordable housing has always been a talked-about element of this project; with the recent announcement, the details of that aspect of the project have now been defined.

Mirvish Village is currently under construction, with the underground levels currently forming. 

You can learn more about Mirvish Village from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like to, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the field provided on this page.

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Related Companies:  Brook Pooni Associates, Diamond Schmitt Architects, EQ Building Performance Inc., Urban Strategies Inc.