Tenants pay more to live at Olympic Village

VANCOUVER — Tenants will shell out a few hundred dollars more than the average Vancouver rent to live in the new Olympic Village but the city of Vancouver is confident it will attract a healthy pool of prospective renters.

As of this week, about 60 people have put their names on an application list for the 126 rental suites, which are prioritized for front-line workers in health care, public safety and public education in Vancouver.

If accepted, they will pay an estimated $1,601 a month for a 640-square-foot, one-bedroom suite or $1,902 per month for a 906-square-foot, two-bedroom suite.

Those wanting more space will have to shell out an estimated $2,096 for a 1,223-square-foot, three-bedroom suite and $2,368 for a 1,480-square-foot, four-bedroom suite.

The monthly rents are higher than the average costs for a Vancouver city apartment or condo, according to statistics from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. For instance, an average one-bedroom apartment in the city rents for about $900, with a two-bedroom at $1,400 and three-bedroom plus apartment at $1,750.

CMHC spokeswoman Robyn Adamache noted that because most rental stock in Vancouver in quite old, the new suite rentals are more in line with newer condo properties.

One-bedroom condos are rented for an average of $1,262 per month with two-bedrooms going for about $1,754, according to statistics gathered by CMHC last October. The average rents are expected to rise slightly this year and next.

Barbara Proskin, Vancouver’s deputy general manager of community services, said interest in the Olympic Village suites continues to mount, especially as publicity increases. The city has spent $110 million on the affordable housing units, and hopes to recover $32 million of that through rental income.

"We haven’t done any promotion," Proskin said. "The fact we’ve had 60 people ask to be put on an application list plus other people calling … we’re pleased we’ve generated that level of interest."

The affordable rental suites are part of the Millennium Water development on the south shore of False Creek. Of those interested in a suite at the Olympic Village, 20 are nurses, paramedics and therapists, 11 are teachers, five are police or firefighters and some are civilian government workers and private managers. Others have not specified their occupation.

The city will be contracting with an independent, not-for-profit building operator who will make the final selections of tenants. To be eligible for the suites, workers can earn no more than five times their annual rent. The suites are targeted at people earning in the $60,000 range.

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