Mr. Michael Cooper reports
DREAM UNLIMITED CORP. ANNOUNCES PLANS TO DEVELOP 5,000 PURPOSE-BUILT RENTAL SUITES ACROSS CANADA, AFTER FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TABLES NEW GST LEGISLATION
After new legislation related to GST (goods and services tax) exemptions was tabled in Parliament on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, along with anticipated provincial announcements on tax waivers and average interest rates seen this year, Dream Unlimited Corp. plans to deliver 5,000 new purpose-built rental units in urban centres across Canada. These government announcements establish a newfound ability for the entire development industry ecosystem to partner with all levels of government, not-for-profit and private sector organizations to collectively address the affordability crisis by increasing the amount of market and affordable rental units available to Canadians.
On Sept. 14, 2023, the Prime Minister announced that GST would be removed on the construction of new apartment buildings, to encourage construction of needed housing. That effort was moved forward Thursday when the new legislation was tabled.
"With Thursday's introduction of new legislation formalizing the removal of GST, Dream is positioned to move forward on 5,000 net new purpose-built rental apartment units in Ottawa, Saskatoon, Calgary and Toronto, collectively," says Michael J. Cooper, president and chief responsible officer, Dream Unlimited. "This legislation is a game changer for the development industry, and more importantly for Canadians. The housing crisis has impacted every urban centre from coast to coast. What this legislation unlocks is our ability to get shovels into the ground quickly at a time when it's never been more critical to build new homes."
Each of the sites identified by Dream currently have approvals in place.
In the next six months, Dream can advance its shovel-ready projects, which includes 1,350 units. In Ottawa, Dream will be advancing 1,010 units, of which 43 per cent -- equivalent to 438 units -- will be dedicated as affordable. Rents for the Ottawa units will range from 59 per cent of median market rent to market rents, contributing to 7 per cent of the city's targeted annual construction starts of 15,000 units. In addition, Dream will bring 340 units in Saskatoon. By 2025, Dream will be able to advance another 3,700 units across Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Saskatoon.
The substantial progress in Ottawa is largely due to a unique partnership between Dream and the Multifaith Housing Initiative of Ottawa (MHI), a Canadian non-profit charitable organization founded in 2002 that is a coalition of 80 faith communities. As a result of the partnership, both organizations are able to deliver an integrated rental community that will include affordable housing, transit connectivity and unprecedented sustainability targets. Located on the Library Parcel of LeBreton Flats, the development is an innovative, net-zero, mixed-income community that includes 608 rental units, 41 per cent of which will be dedicated as affordable. Dream and MHI will also develop integrated programs and support systems, creating a sense of belonging, fostering well-being and paving the path for upward mobility for all residents in a sustainable, inclusive community, in a transit-oriented development.
"Multifaith Housing Initiative strongly supports the legislation tabled by the federal government on Thursday to eliminate the GST from new purpose-built rentals, and encourages all provincial governments to proceed with the exemption of the PST [provincial sales tax]. The elimination of GST/PST will allow projects and innovative partnerships between private and non-profit sector, like the one at LeBreton Flats between Dream and Multifaith Housing Initiative, to proceed and produce a much needed 608 units of purpose-built rental, of which 41 per cent, or 250 units, will be affordable, ranging from 59 per cent of median market rent to market units, with affordability tenure in excess of 55-plus years, and will be net zero. These partnerships are essential to scale the delivery of affordable housing and to strengthen capacity in the non-profit sector in our country. We welcome the government's initiative, and continue committed to working with governments and private-sector to deliver safe, clean and affordable housing for Canadians," says Suzanne Le, executive director, Multifaith Housing Initiative.
With the recent GST waiver announcement and co-operation with government partners, Dream and MHI, other developers, investors and not-for-profits can maximize the volume of market rent and affordable housing available to those in need, and create enhanced benefits to future residents. The successful partnership between private sector developers, non-profit organizations and governments represents an innovative model that can be replicated and allow for the creation of new affordable units all over Canada. While the GST waiver is a substantial step, all participants and all levels of government will benefit by continuing to join forces to advance this critical mission that will create substantial new housing, and create meaningful opportunities for community-building and social impact for Canadians across the country.
About Dream Unlimited Corp.
Dream is a leading developer of exceptional office and residential assets in Toronto, owns stabilized income-generating assets in both Canada and the United States, and has an established and successful asset management business, inclusive of $24-billion of assets under management across four Toronto Stock Exchange-listed trusts, its private asset management business, and numerous partnerships. The company also develops land, residential and income-generating assets in Western Canada. Dream expects to generate more recurring income in the future as its urban development properties are completed and held for the long term. Dream has a proven record for being innovative and for its ability to source, structure and execute on compelling investment opportunities.
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