At the most recent City Council meeting, Shelly Sweet, Airdrie Housing Limited Managing (AHL) Director, says their budget is stretched thin.
“The current estimate is $2.35 million for the construction and the proposed budget initially was $1.33 million.”
With this difference, a few options were presented by Sweet:
Appealing to the province to increase grant funding for the project. This option will be taking place on July 12, in conjunction with representatives of the city in the form of a site visit and meeting with the Minister of seniors and housing. It is hoped that an appeal to the province will result in additional funding and cover the shortfall.
Selling the land at 905 Edmonton Trail and adding these funds to the project budget should, option one not be successful. The Airdrie Housing Board will use the proceeds from the sale of this land as additional funding for the project.
Using AHL reserves for operational expenses, which may address a portion of the shortfall. It is understood that this option will be used in combination with option one or two if required.
Reduce the scope of the project. This option would allow Airdrie Housing to proceed but with a greatly reduced scope of work.
As of right now, the old hotel will be converted into housing with 38 suites, 25 studios, nine one-bedroom suites, and four barrier free rooms.
“AHL has identified two backstop options for the purpose of making the contractual commitment with the design builder prior to the permanent funding being secured. However, only one of these options would allow the project to continue without a major delay.”
A line of credit from a bank. Airdrie housing could appeal to their banker to provide them with a line of credit to use if needed. The bank approval for this option, if successful, will take considerable time as this is considered a commercial venture and would cost money.
Airdrie Housing shareholders and the City of Airdrie could provide a temporary funding backstop if needed. This would allow the project to proceed and without impact to the timeline and give the stability needed to enter into a construction contract while waiting for either the province to determine if they will provide additional funding, or until such time as the land at 905 Edmonton Trail is sold.
“The need for low rental housing in Airdrie has never been higher with an extremely tight market. Rents are increasing every day and with exceedingly low vacancy rates.”
According to Sweet, Airdrie Housing Limited has seen 415 requests for housing from January to June of 2022.
After a flurry of questions, Council voted to direct the administration to work with Airdrie Housing Limited to ensure that AHL has the means available to continue the project.
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