New York City developer George Aridas turned a few heads among Vancouver’s condo builders with his presentation earlier this year to the Urban Development Institute. Mr. Aridas’ talk was funny, sported great visuals, and brimmed with financial and technical facts.
But the real reason many Vancouver developers were on the edge of their seats was the New Yorker’s details on how his company made a lot of money building an environment-friendly residential tower. Now that got their attention!
Sounds like a big win all the way around.
Aridas’ project, the Solaire, uses 35 percent less electricity and half the water of a typical residential high rise. Plus, it takes a great approach to affordable housing:
[T]here is a mandated sprinkling of “affordable” housing on all building floors, rather than on physically separate sites. “They are integrated through most parts of the building,” says Mr. Aridas of the Solaire’s affordable housing units, “so riding up the elevator, nobody knows if the person standing next to you is paying one fifth the rent for almost the same apartment.”
Seems like Vancouver’s paying attention. How about Seattle and Portland?
I’m puzzled why there is such a great social value placed on income diversity. Or let me put it this way: how much do you think it’s worth? And it’s not free. When you force a developer to allocate some number of units to “income restricted” (i.e. “poor” in English) people, you do at least these two things: * you decrease the profit the developer makes (whether it is rental or condo) and hence the Federal income taxes they would pay;* you decrease the value of the building so the property tax stream from it (whether it is rental or condo).Such requirements might also trigger manipulation of the zoning so that the building becomes bigger through “bonuses,” which casts doubt on the whole logic of zoning restrictions.It’s fine if you value the creation of “income diversity” but it is not free.Better to use a superb location and get the most tax sream from it and then give that money to poor people. More direct and has more integrity.
First. would love a link to this project. Do you have one?Second. Lower income people are not necessarily “poor”, e.g., many teachers, firefighters, nurses, have a difficult time affording housing near their work. This leads to difficulties in recruiting and retaining critical workforce. Superb locations are created through public investment in safety, access, and even beauty. Shouldn’t the public expect a return? Ensuring housing is affordable and convenient seems a good return to me and more durable than a handout.