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Toronto to market 11 city-owned sites for new affordable rental housing

At the end of last month, Toronto City Council adopted the “Housing Now” action plan. The first phase of the plan involves the public marketing of 11 city-owned sites for the purpose of finding non-profit and private sector partners to help redevelop the lands with new mixed-income housing. It is expected that these lands could accommodate about 10,000 homes.

Here is the list of sites:

As part of the offering, around 2/3 of the built units will need to be rental (the above chart shows more), and of these rental units, 50% will need to be affordable with rents set to 80% of Toronto’s average market rents. All of this should translate into approximately 3,700 new affordable homes. (Mayor Tory’s plan is to build 40,000 affordable rental homes by 2030.)

The City wants to ultimately retain ownership of these lands, and so the sites will be offered up through long-term land leases. It looks like they’ll be for 99 years. The City will also be forgiving a number of fees and levies for the 3,700 affordable homes. They are pegging the PV (present value) of these development incentives at just over $280 million:

Making use of surplus public land to increase the supply of affordable housing certainly makes a lot of sense. But there’s a cost burden associated with these affordable units, which is why discussions around inclusionary zoning often come back to offsetting measures. Who is going to pay for these subsidies?

The above “financial incentives” — which in this case are simply foregone revenue — speak to this cost burden.

Tables: City of Toronto

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