Two new apartment buildings on Gottingen Street will earmark 50 per cent of rental units for affordable housing, according to a new non-profit organization.
The Housing Trust of Nova Scotia, founded by real estate consultant Ross Cantwell, is moving ahead with plans to construct two eight- to 10-storey buildings on Gottingen between Cunard and Cornwallis streets.
The Housing Trust brings together the “who’s who” of the real estate community, including developer Louis Lawen and architect Dan Goodspeed.
Cantwell said housing prices on the peninsula have become a concern, especially in the Gottingen Street area.
“If you look at the Gottingen Street area, the five most recent projects there … are all condo projects,” said Cantwell.
“Those are really just for one segment of the population. Our concern is you’ve got residents in that neighbourhood who maybe grew up there … Can they even afford to live in the neighbourhood they grew up in?”
The new buildings will be built on lots currently occupied by the dilapidated MET department store and the former Diamonds bar, both of which were recently purchased by the Housing Trust. Cantwell said each building could have upwards of 100 units.
According to Cantwell, half of those units will be rented at market value, while the other half will be rented at less than market value.
The buildings will also feature ground-level commercial spaces, spaces which Cantwell hopes will be filled by services the community needs.
“There are some holes in the fabric of that street,” Cantwell said.
“We’re hoping to target some ground-floor uses that will provide services that will help knit that street and neighbourhood back together.”
Cantwell expects to have an architect as early as next week, and construction is slated to begin before the end of the year.