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The City of Vancouver and Holborn Properties have broken ground on a 48-unit social housing project in the Little Mountain area.

City of Vancouver, Holborn Break Ground on Little Mountain Project

The City of Vancouver and Holborn Properties have broken ground on a 48-unit social housing project in the Little Mountain area.

The project is located at 167 East 36th Avenue and slated to be completed in 2026. It is one of many long-awaited buildings that Holborn has planned to build as part of a major mixed-use redevelopment on a large site. The redevelopment project has been in the works for 16 years, but only one social housing project has been completed, in 2015.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Holborn CEO Joo Kim Tiah apologized for the long delay in getting social housing units built.

“It was never the intention. It’s a very long backstory of why we’re here, why it has taken so long, ” he told reporters. “But I don’t think we need to go there. What we can do is just focus on moving ahead as quickly as possible.”

Previously, Tiah has cited difficulty in getting the total project rezoned. The project has also been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In November 2023, city council approved Holborn’s request to delay some social housing construction while building market units. According to a city staff report to council, Holborn contended that the city’s hold on permits for market housing within the redevelopment prevented the company from obtaining financing for the redevelopment. City staff and councillors with the governing ABC party, say the decision will accelerate construction of the social housing component.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Ken Sim suggested that council granted Holborn’s request in order to move the overall redevelopment beyond its “checkered past.”

“We have the opportunity to do two things: We can litigate the past and come up with reasons why we can’t do it and get really oppositional,” Sim told reporters. “Or we can say: Look, there are a lot of people that need housing here, and let’s make some hard decisions.”

Plans call for the overall redevelopment to contain 1,573 homes, including 282 social housing units, a childcare centre and a neighbourhood house.

The city announced that it has agreed to reinvest the revenue from development cost levies from the Little Mountain project into the development of public amenities to serve the site and address service gaps in the neighbourhood.

In the same press release, Tiah said Holborn will break ground on two more social housing buildings within the next two months.

Image: City of Vancouver/Holborn Properties


Inside The Story

Mike Klassen

About Monte Stewart

Monte Stewart serves as Content Director - Canada for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monte provides daily news coverage of major Canadian commercial real estate markets, including Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. He has written about the real estate sector for various media outlets and Avison Young since the early 2000s. In addition, he has covered sports, general news and business for several leading wire services and publications, including The Canadian Press, The Associated Press, The Calgary Herald, The Globe and Mail, Research Money, The Daily Oil Bulletin, Natural Gas World and The Toronto Star. Monte is active in his community as a youth basketball coach and raises funds for such charitable causes as Movember.

  • ◦Development
  • ◦Policy/Gov't
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