Vancouver to seek $ 3.5 million loan for Fourth Plain Commons project
Vancouver will work towards securing a loan to help fund the next phase of the Fourth Plain Commons project, a multi-million dollar investment that will bring housing and community space to the Fourth Plain Corridor.
This week, city councilors unanimously gave staff the green light to secure a $ 3.5 million loan from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program, called Section 108 Loan, allows municipalities to leverage their community development block grant funds for projects, offering loans up to five times the grant amount.
According to Peggy Sheehan, director of community development for Vancouver, the loans have a 20-year repayment plan. The city has already accessed it to fund $ 5.4 million in improvements to Grant and Esther streets.
“It’s a very popular program, the city of Vancouver has used it once before,” Sheehan told council this week. “It has very flexible funding – you can use it for anything CDBG allows us to use.”
The Fourth Plain Commons is the largest piece of the city’s larger strategy, Fourth Plain Forward, which has been in the works since 2015.
The space – which will ultimately be located at the southwest corner of East Fourth Plain Boulevard and Norris Road – will consist of a public facility on the ground floor with gathering spaces, an outdoor plaza and shared offices. for community services such as business training and housing assistance. The first floor of the building will also include a commercial kitchen for a culinary training program.
“There will be plenty of community gathering opportunities,” said Rebecca Kennedy, city planning director.
The upper floors will consist of 106 apartments, the rent of which is set to meet the criteria for affordable housing.
In total, the complete installation is expected to cost $ 41.4 million. The vast majority of that amount, around $ 36 million, will go to residential units, Kennedy said. The common space will cost around $ 5.4 million.
In the spring of 2019, the Legislature helped launch the project with a grant of $ 800,000. City staff held a workshop in March – “just weeks before everything was shut down,” Kennedy said – followed by a series of remote focus groups over the summer.
The city plans to launch the project by September this year.