Building Magazine


Affordable housing issue addressed in new partnership

Today, Artscape announced a public-private partnership between themselves, the City of Toronto and private developers Sorbara Group & Diamondcorp and Great Gulf that has created new affordable residential opportunities for artists in two condominium developments under construction in downtown Toronto. The Artscape Lofts at 210 Simcoe and PACE represent an opportunity for artists and artist-led families to access housing at below-market prices, build equity in Toronto’s expensive real estate market and remain rooted in rapidly changing areas of the city.

The Artscape Lofts result from efforts of the City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Office and its Home Ownership Assistance Program, Section 37 development agreements and City Planning, and they reflect the goals of Toronto’s 10-year affordable housing plan. This is Artscape’s second development project involving below-market homes for artists within a condominium development. The 70-unit Artscape Triangle Lofts opened in 2010 at 38 Abell Street in West Queen West thanks to a partnership between Artscape, the City of Toronto, Urbancorp and the community group Active 18.

For Artscape Lofts purchasers, the price of units is brought to below-market targets by the Artscape Mortgage: an interest-free, no-payment second mortgage. For Artscape Lofts renters, units will be offered at 80 per cent of the average Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) rate for the city of Toronto. PACE is located at 155-163 Dundas Street East, in Ward 27. City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam said, “When we were considering a non-profit partner for Great Gulf’s PACE condominium, Artscape quickly emerged as an obvious choice. Creating new affordable housing has been an ongoing priority for the City of Toronto. By connecting the Downtown East neighbourhood with cultural producers living and working in the 14 new units of Artscape housing within PACE we’ve created a multiple-bottom-line win. I am very proud to continue supporting these dynamic and innovative partnerships in Toronto.”

The 210 Simcoe development, near University Avenue between Dundas and Queen Streets, is in the municipal ward of City Councillor Joe Cressy, who said, “We’re so glad to welcome these new affordable units to Ward 20. It’s critical that as we grow our city we do so in an equitable manner. Through forward-thinking partnerships with non-profit organizations like Artscape and private corporations such as Sorbara Group & Diamondcorp, we’re able to preserve space in the city centre for artists, who contribute to the vitality of our neighbourhoods and our identity as a city.”

It is anticipated that occupancy will begin at 210 Simcoe in July 2015 and at PACE in early 2016. The application process is now open to qualifying artists, with a deadline of January 30, 2015.

Complete information including the Call for Proposals is available at

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