The Halifax and West Community Council will vote Tuesday night on a rezoning request from the Housing Trust of Nova Scotia to build nearly 250 apartments on Gottingen Street.

Half of the units would be set aside to provide housing for low income families, with rents set at no more than 30 per cent of their income.

Gottingen Street development on old Derby site

A 128-unit apartment building is proposed for 2215 Gottingen Street, site of the old Derby restaurant. (Housing Trust of Nova Scotia)

 

The development will take over two key areas of Gottingen Street. 

The first building will be at 2183 Gottingen Street, site of the former Metropolitan department store. It's to include 115 units.

Of those, 58 would be set aside for affordable housing. The $20 million project will include a mix of apartments and townhouses. 

The second project is slated for the property at 2215 Gottingen Street. It’s where the Derby restaurant once stood and more recently Diamonds bar. 

The plan for that block includes a total of 128 units, with 64 designated for low income families. The cost of this phase is estimated to be $25 million. 

Ross Cantwell with Housing Trust of Nova Scotia says the non-profit group has been working on both projects for four years.

'It's going to make an incredible, positive difference in the community'- Ross Cantwell

He says affordable housing keeps residents in the community.

“It’s going to make an incredible, positive difference in the community,” he says.

“One of the things we keep hearing through our community liaison as well as word on the street is that there’s a lot of people, young people in particular, who have grown up in this community.”

“As they want to move out of their parents’ home, they are looking at options and they don’t have the money to buy anything.”

Cantwell says the apartments being rented at market value will offset the costs of the affordable housing units and bring money to the neighbourhood.

Keeps people in the neighbourhood

“With 240 households moving into Gottingen Street, half of them market rate, half of them modest income, this is the kind of disposable income that Gottingen Street needs to get some of the retail shops, to get a bank in here, to make the co-op work,” Cantwell says.

“All those sorts of things the residents want to see. And some of the retailers come back. This is the kind of smart growth that will make that happen.”

Cantwell says if the Housing Trust gets all the approvals it needs over the next month, finalizing financing is the next step.

The Housing Trust is aiming to break ground on the Metropolitan store site in spring 2015. The group estimates the project will take 18 months to complete, and construction will then begin on the Derby restaurant site.