It was a win for co-operative housing on Monday (July 11), with the purchase of 425 units of affordable co-op housing in Burnaby.
A $162-million deal between the province, the City of Burnaby and the Community Land Trust of B.C. (CLT) has ensured that three towers of Burnaby co-op housing will remain as such.
As land leases ended on the two properties housing the towers at 9380 and 9390 Cardston Crt. and 4221 Mayberry St., there was concern that the previous landowner, the Operating Engineers' Pension Plan (OEPP), Local 115, would sell the land to a private developer.
BC Housing, City of Burnaby finance the purchase
The province stepped in, with BC Housing providing $132.6 million, including $22.5 million for renovations and closing costs, to the CLT, the Co-operative Housing Federation’s non-profit social-purpose real-estate arm, to finance the purchase from the OEPP.
The City of Burnaby purchased the Mayberry Street property for $29.8 million and will lease it to the CLT “for a nominal fee for 60 years,” according to a news release.
“Co-op housing plays an essential role in the housing mix in our community, and the City of Burnaby is proud to be part of this partnership,” said Mayor Mike Hurley, adding that growing co-op housing in Burnaby is a priority for the city.
The housing co-op associations, Post 83 Co-operative Housing Association at Mayberry and 115 Place Co-operative Housing Association at Cardston, will continue to manage the buildings.
Brian Cochrane, chair of the OEPP, said he was pleased that the agreement preserves affordable housing while also meeting the needs of the pension plan.
“This sale will support our members’ retirement, now and in the future. One of our priorities through this process has been to ensure residents of Mayberry and Cardston Court would continue to have affordable homes,” Cochrane said.
Burnaby co-op presidents grateful
The three buildings on the two properties primarily house seniors and low-income residents.
“Our members have been incredibly distressed about the land-lease expiration and not knowing the future of our home,” said Deb Tom, co-op president of Post 83 Co-op.
“When I finally got the go-ahead … to deliver the news that our property was sold and our home was in good hands, there was a collective sigh of relief resonating from our co-op.”
“Residents will continue to have the opportunity, that everyone deserves, to stay in their community, close to their friends, close to their families and close to services that they know and depend on,” said Anne Kang, MLA for Burnaby-Deer Lake.
“We are forever in your debt for saving our homes. Without you, we don’t know where this may have ended,” said Sue Menard, co-op president of 115 Place.
According to 2022 property assessments, the Cardston Court property (near Lougheed Town Centre) is worth more than $85.3 million, and the Mayberry property (near Patterson SkyTrain station) more than $54.3 million.
There are 26 housing co-operatives in Burnaby.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated BC Housing had purchased the Cardston property. That is incorrect. BC Housing provided financing to the Community Land Trust of B.C. to purchase the property.