Charlottetown hopes rental crunch will end with new developments

There's optimism in Charlottetown about the number of new rental units set for construction in 2018.

So far, more than 800 units have been approved for construction in 2018

Planners with the City of Charlottetown say there's been a significant jump in the number of new housing units approved for construction in 2018. So far, more than 800 new units have been approved. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

There's optimism in Charlottetown about the number of new rental units set for construction in 2018. 

So far, there have been 820 units, including townhouses, approved for construction. That's up from last year when only about 135 units, including townhouses, were built in the city. 

"We are quite encouraged by those numbers and I assume they will get better as the year goes on," said Coun. Greg Rivard, chair of the planning and heritage committee. 

Greg Rivard, chair of planning and heritage, says the city is hopeful the new developments relieve some of the stress caused by a lack of rental units. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

Last year the vacancy rate hit .09 per cent, so Rivard said the units will be a welcome addition. 

"There's all sorts of needs, and again with the aging demographic of Charlottetown, or maybe even Prince Edward Island or Canada in that sense there always has to be transition housing and alternative for people who are looking to downsize or something different," he said. "We're trying to get ahead of the curve."

New developments

One of the newest approved buildings is at 494 Queen Street, next to the Superstore. Tim Banks is developing a 65 to 80 unit building that will have mixed one and two-bedroom apartments.

One of the new approved buildings will be constructed on the paved area next to the Superstore at 494 Queen Street, seen here. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

He is also working on another proposal for a higher-end building of close to 100 units for the waterfront behind 13 Haviland Street. Banks has presented the plan to the Heritage Board, but still has to submit an official proposal which will have to go through the design review process.

Banks said he hopes to get started soon but he has to get the numbers right. 

A higher-end building of close to 100 units could be built on the grass-covered area on the waterfront behind 13 Haviland Street, seen here. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

"The market in Charlottetown for construction cost is something that we have to deal with, simply because when you go to the higher building structures it involves steel and concrete and we need to make sure we get a return on our investment," he said. "So we need to wait until we get our prices in before we again say we're going to pull the trigger."   

Staff at the city say the higher numbers this year may be due to the fact that many of the projects are larger scale, and developers have been working on them for a while.