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Work underway to repurpose building for affordable seniors’ housing

Rental applications for a new seniors’ living facility in Lethbridge are expected to be open in by the end of June.  

Concept Investment Partnerships is repurposing the old Seasons building near the hospital to have 50 units of housing for people 55 and older. Of those, 37 will be affordable housing for 20 years, as agreed upon to get funding from the city. 

The Edwards, the new name for the building, will use $1.29 million from a municipal grant, along with matching funds from the province. The remainder of the $6.2 million in estimated cost will come from other sources such as debt and private donations.  

Ken Harvie, managing partner as Concept, says this is the first time his organization has worked with grants and the vacant building was a good opportunity for a seniors’ living project. 

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“It’s a fully accessible building, the hallways are wide enough for wheelchairs, the doors are wide enough and we thought this is a great building for an adaptive reuse into a new affordable living community,” says Harvie. “Originally there were 60 units – the eastern portion of the main floor will become a commercial retail unit. We are hoping to find a small format grocer or large convenience store. 

He says though only 37 of the units will be designated affordable by the city’s definition (30 per cent or less of provincial income thresholds), they will all be below market rents. 

He adds the proximity to the hospital and lack of parking on site for each individual unit makes it ideal for this demographic. 

“We will continue to work with the province and the city, as well as looking at the federal government for other projects – as a private developer, if we can bring product to the market faster, which is what we do, we will continue to take a look at the opportunities,” Harvie. 

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He says being a private developer allows Concept to get to work quickly, when not-for-profits may not be able to get projects moving. 

“Public and private partnership is not something that we have typically done but we are really grateful to Concept Investment Partners and to the provincial/federal government for being able to come in that kind of partnership to make this type of project a reality, says Matthew Pitcher, the city’s housing solutions coordinator. “Ultimately we look forward to also having other opportunities to action different types of housing initiatives through our municipal housing strategy, which will be coming forward in a couple months. 

Harvie says the first of the units should be available in July or early August. There will be a combination of bachelor, one and two bedrooms options. 

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