The Salvation Army Harbour Light facility in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has been acquired by BC Housing, STOREYS has learned.
The property, located at 119 East Cordova St, was previously listed by Dan Chatfield at Colliers, with a sale reported as completed in May, but the buyer was not disclosed at the time.
In a statement provided to STOREYS, BC Housing has now confirmed that the Province purchased the building through BC Housing. Notably, BC Housing paid The Salvation Army $42M for the property, making it one of the larger multi-family sales to take place so far this year.
According to the listing, the building is a four-to-six-storey mixed-use development with 80,993 sq. ft of space and an HA-2 (Gastown Historic Area) zoning.
Colliers notes that the property serves as a “unique development opportunity in the coveted Gastown neighbourhood” with “potential to assemble with neighbouring properties,” and the “opportunity to renovate, change uses, and realize income potential” while being “unencumbered by heritage designations.”
Asked about the intended plans for 119 E Cordova, BC Housing said “Plans for the future use of this site are still being determined and will be shared publicly once a proposal is in place.”
Services offered at the Harbour Light facility, which has been operational for 70 years, according to The Salvation Army, will be unaffected in the meantime, however.
“The Salvation Army continues to lease the site for ongoing operation of current social housing, shelter and public food services,” said BC Housing. “No current residents will be displaced as a result of this change in ownership, and operation of Harbour Light Detox currently run from this site will not be impacted during this transition.”
The Salvation Army is in the process of moving the Harbour Light facility to a site directly across the street, at 128 E Cordova Street, which is currently under construction.
Discussions for the relocation began in 2017 between the City of Vancouver and the Salvation Army. The new building is expected to be nine storeys and include 46 social housing units, 120 supported residential beds, and 134 emergency shelter beds. It will also allow The Salvation Army to expand its community meal program to up to 150,000 meals annually.
The City of Vancouver, BC Housing, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation are all serving as funding partners on the project.
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