Community Counselling & Resource Centre

City of Peterborough borrowing $24.4M for two new apartment complexes

http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/2017/08/01/city-of-peterborough-borrowing-244m-for-two-new-apartment-complexes

August 1st, 2017

City council voted a final time Monday night to borrow $24.4 million to help develop a couple of apartment complexes on a single property - one for seniors, and one for single mothers and their children.

The buildings will be on Bonaccord St. The plan is to convert the McRae building - the empty Fleming College trade school - into 38 apartments for single moms and their kids.

In addition, a new six-storey building will be constructed on the large gravel parking lot of the McRae building; it will have 81 apartments for seniors. The two buildings will be connected by breezeway.

Peterborough Housing Corporation (PHC) - the city and county's largest social housing provider - will operate the homes. The city is the sole shareholder of PHC.

The total cost of the project is $39 million (federal and provincial grants will be available to help with construction, according to a new city staff report). But the project still needs money during construction this fall.

Council plans to apply for financing from Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation, which manages infrastructure renewal projects in the province.

Once the buildings are done and people start paying rent, in 2019, the city can convert the loans into debentures. The staff report shows that the rents should cover annual payments on a 30-year loan.

Of the 81 seniors' apartments, 50 will be staffed with personal support workers.

Of those 50 apartments, 20 will be reserved for elderly patients living at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) for lack of someplace else to go.

A city staff report says the idea is to provide a home for seniors who do not need the constant medical attention offered at a long-term care home but cannot live in a retirement home (where there are no supports at all).

Councillors gave preliminary approval to the plan last week. It needed a final vote on Monday to go forward.

Council also gave final approval to two other projects involving PHC on Monday night:

  • Brock Mission:

Council voted a final time to buy the Brock Mission property for a nominal fee of $2 and develop a new emergency shelter for men plus rental rooms.

The plan received preliminary approval from councillors last week; it needed a final vote before council.

For several years, the Brock Mission has planned to tear down its building on Murray St.

The plan is to raze it this year and build a new facility with 30 emergency overnight beds and 15 rental rooms (for homeless men to rent as they look for more permanent housing).

In the meantime, men are staying at a temporary homeless shelter at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church up the street.

The cost of the new facility was expected to be about $8 million; the Brock Mission was going to fundraise and also take on a mortgage.

But now the city will own the facility instead (with Brock Mission still operating it on contract).

Under the plan, the city will borrow $3.8 million to help cover construction costs (in addition to $1.65 million the city had already committed, in cash and waived fees).

The project also had $1.5 million in grants, and the Brock Mission is expected to conduct a fundraising campaign to raise $1 million more.

The Brock Mission building on Murray St. was never designed to be a shelter: it was originally a church, before its conversion into a Legion hall.

It was made to serve as a shelter in 2006, when the original Brock Mission on Brock St. became overcrowded.

LGA Architectural Partners of Toronto has already created a design for the building for the Brock Mission.

  • Sunshine Homes:

Council voted a final time to acquire a non-profit townhouse complex on Crystal Dr. The city is going to take ownership of Sunshine Homes, a 110-unit townhouse complex.

The board of directors said they were about three years away from declaring bankruptcy. Instead, they wanted PHC to manage the complex - and council agreed to the plan.

The city will pay a nominal fee of $2 for Sunshine Homes, but also take on the complex's mortgage and debt of $3.5 million; council voted to take out a loan to pay off that $3.5 million.

The Sunshine Homes property is worth about $8.5 million, states a city staff report.

The non-profit corporation was forced into receivership 12 years ago and has struggled to regain financial stability.