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"LRTs displace all the poor people"?
#46
(11-29-2015, 10:57 PM)jamincan Wrote: I imagine the parking situation is a bit unique in Northdale though due to the greater proportion of students. I think it's reasonable to require more parking further away from the universities.

I don't think it is. If the demand is for more parking, then builders can supply for that demand. But if you're building right next to LRT, there is definitely non-student demand for units without parking that cost less as a result. Developers are not currently allowed to meet that demand anywhere in KW except Northdale, as the parking requirements are for at least one parking spot per residential unit. Even for a building located right in the middle of downtown Kitchener.
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#47
Article in the Globe today: Startup boom revitalizing urban Kitchener, but not all in favour

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on...k=sf_globe
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#48
(01-25-2016, 01:46 PM)notmyfriends Wrote: Article in the Globe today:  Startup boom revitalizing urban Kitchener, but not all in favour

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on...k=sf_globe

Quote:From the article:

Oz Cole-Arnal, a former Lutheran minister and member of the Alliance Against Poverty (AAP), says poorer residents have already been shifted out to the suburbs in favour of funky condos and gleaming new office space.

I can't think of single current condo tower or office in downtown Kitchener presently occupying land that used to be poor housing.
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#49
(01-25-2016, 02:10 PM)BuildingScout Wrote:
Quote:From the article:

Oz Cole-Arnal, a former Lutheran minister and member of the Alliance Against Poverty (AAP), says poorer residents have already been shifted out to the suburbs in favour of funky condos and gleaming new office space.

I can't think of single current condo tower or office in downtown Kitchener presently occupying land that used to be poor housing.

48 Weber comes to mind, though it's not going to be a cut and dried example. It had fallen past the point of human habitability, but the company that decided to renovate it certainly isn't doing it with the working poor in mind. Nor are they economically incentivized to.

I think Cole-Arnal is out in left field a lot of the time, but he's not exactly barking up a tree in this case. A unit doesn't have to be torn down for it to fall out of reach of affordable housing. The growth of desirability of the location means that as soon as the landlord has the opportunity, they can invest some thousands of dollars tidying a unit up, and drastically mark up the asking rent for a new tenant.

The only real solution is increasing supply at the low end of the market. But where's the money in that?

Does anyone know if someone is actually building or opening anything new downtown that goes for under a thousand a month in rent?
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#50
(01-25-2016, 02:25 PM)zanate Wrote:
(01-25-2016, 02:10 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: I can't think of single current condo tower or office in downtown Kitchener presently occupying land that used to be poor housing.

Does anyone know if someone is actually building or opening anything new downtown that goes for under a thousand a month in rent?

In the words of Edna... HA. The space on Queen above the various businesses which have been at ground level (Strange Utopia?) was renovated such that a ~700sqft two-bedroom with zero storage space even inside the unit or its "closets" was marketed at $1500. That 1/3 of downtown is heritage districts (let alone properties, or the hush that falls adjacent to all of them) likely helps to keep from any such affordable units coming up.
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#51
(01-25-2016, 02:25 PM)zanate Wrote: 48 Weber comes to mind, though it's not going to be a cut and dried example. It had fallen past the point of human habitability, but the company that decided to renovate it certainly isn't doing it with the working poor in mind. Nor are they economically incentivized to.

Though given that their fancy, renovated units are going for under $900/month, this is not sky-is-falling gentrification either.

(01-25-2016, 02:25 PM)zanate Wrote: The only real solution is increasing supply at the low end of the market. But where's the money in that? 

I'm not sure that's the right question, as supply itself can change. The money is in building what's in demand, and what is profitable to build given the zoning constraints (which, e.g., force new builds to include the high cost of parking in their price). But when you build new buildings in the middle and high end, they should push existing, older buildings down the ladder.

(01-25-2016, 02:25 PM)zanate Wrote: Does anyone know if someone is actually building or opening anything new downtown that goes for under a thousand a month in rent?

If you consider renovations of existing buildings without parking, then the aforementioned 48 Windermere qualifies at $895. 1 bedrooms in the Cedar brownstones are under $1000. Studios in a new build from Blaze Properties (that I think looks great!) are way under, if you can get one.

But I think parking and zoning rules are a big contributor here. To pay for all the studies needed to convince the city to change unreasonable zoning, and to make structured parking more cost-efficient, it probably helps to build at a large scale and on the higher end. But without changing zoning rules, you can't do dense, efficient, small-footprint construction - which is why for the most part, we don't see projects like these downtown.
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#52
The one from Blaze looks great, and even better when you consider the price range!

I think the city could consider targeted property tax reductions, in urban areas, to encourage (and make viable) lower-cost housing. Remove the parking requirement, and (for example) reduce the property tax by 25% if 50% of the units are affordable (say, under $1000, inflation-adjusted) and by 50% if 75% of the units are affordable. Long-term commitment (10 or 20 years) by the city, not just a few years.

My numbers may not be the most appropriate ones, but if some developers (such as Blaze) can make this work today, then supporting them financially can substantially ease the low-income housing crunch.
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#53
I think the closing of the Mayfair Hotel and building of City Centre condo project on the same site would count as having displaced low-income housing (for better or for worse). There are also potential space above store fronts that have been renovated for either commercial or higher end residential that may not be easy to track. For instance, I'd be pretty certain that the upstairs space of what is now The Berlin might have been residential before Peter Martin moved in.
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#54
I think about displacement like a dinner table. Husband and wife eat dinner each night for many years, and then baby comes along with his high chair, brother moves in with his sibling, grandparent moves in. We don't have any one of these people kick husband and wife out of the dinner table, we find ways to make the table bigger, to fit more people in. This is hard enough in any area with anti-change attitudes. When 1/3 of your core is also heritage, it's another level of no-go zones and entrenched mindsets to deal with. Unless you build more space, every person who comes here does so by kicking someone else from the table, and every person here shaking their finger at it also kicked someone else from the table to get here earlier on, too.

"And just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom"
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#55
An interesting metaphor. I think the original objection was that while more space is being proposed and built, not enough is being done to consider those who might be displaced. Building a shiny new residential building, with a few floors of mix-use commercial office space, suitable for a high-tech start-up or a brew pub is nice, but it doesn't help those who are displaced. The problem is systemic and everyone has a part to play to solve the problem. The problem is also not unique to Waterloo Region, nor to this era in history. Complaining about heritage restrictions that prevent ideal solutions is a false argument that avoids the larger issues. The world is littered with "solutions" that overcame anti-change attitudes as well as heritage defenders. While some solutions worked, others did not, sometimes spectacularly.
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#56
(01-29-2016, 12:48 PM)nms Wrote: An interesting metaphor. I think the original objection was that while more space is being proposed and built, not enough is being done to consider those who might be displaced.  Building a shiny new residential building, with a few floors of mix-use commercial office space, suitable for a high-tech start-up or a brew pub is nice, but it doesn't help those who are displaced.  The problem is systemic and everyone has a part to play to solve the problem.  The problem is also not unique to Waterloo Region, nor to this era in history.  Complaining about heritage restrictions that prevent ideal solutions is a false argument that avoids the larger issues.  The world is littered with "solutions" that overcame anti-change attitudes as well as heritage defenders.  While some solutions worked, others did not, sometimes spectacularly.

Heritage does play a role in it though, to maintain/renovate heritage buildings does have increased costs in themselves so a properly maintained one would have to have higher rent. 
In addition it affects nearby buildings and land as well. If I know nearby buildings can't be redeveloped it won't increase the the rent cost to the current tenants but will increase the price at which I would sell the building/land which would impact the rent to the new tenants for the redeveloped site. On the reverse if no one buys it and redevelops it into a larger space the supply of units available to rent will not go up and that will have an effect of rent prices down the line.

I'm not saying it is the only issue at play but it can't be ignored and just marked as an 'anti-change' attitude there are real costs involved with heritage both direct and indirect.
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#57
(11-07-2015, 02:33 PM)Andy Wrote:
(11-07-2015, 10:15 AM)tomh009 Wrote: I think Church St, for example (the next one over from Charles) is quite nice.  I may have some feedback from my wife soon as we're moving next door to Cedar Hill in a week!

My comments are mainly around the LRT stop (Cedar/Charles), which at the moment is pretty barren. I really want to see someone develop the empty lots between king/charles. I think just having more people around will help shake the perception of that area. I imagine the further away from this corner, the nicer/safer it gets. I really like the neighbourhood location, and I'm sure it's a lot better towards Church. Especially around the lofts. Victoria Park is nice and close too. That's why I picked this stop in particular to only go up in value and "gentrify".

We bought our house on Cedar St S in 2008 and have been more than happy with the changes that have happened in the last 8 years.  We bought our house knowing the reputation of the area.  Our house was at one time a duplex. We converted it back to a single family dwelling.  Are we part of the gentrification problem? I don't think so.  I don't believe the house as a duplex was at all appropriate for renters. A sketchy side entrance, only one exit for the upper unit? It was unsafe for tenants as it was.  We are the first in line of 4 young families who have purchased affordable homes on this street in the last 8 years.  I can attest for us, and our neighbours who just moved in, that we can make it here on a combined income of less than 6 figures, in this particular neighbourhood.

As more of us move in, the demographics and dynamics of the neighbourhood naturally change. In 8 years, we've went from NO children on our end of the street to 11 little ones. As a result, you see a lot of us at Sandhills Park.  And because of that, many of the folks who were using the park as their a) shoot up alley b) residence c) place to engage is sexual activity and d) resultant garbage dump has pretty much ended.  I'm 100% okay with that side-effect.  But no worries, they now stay in the abandoned lots on Benton/Courtland, so they haven't gone too far.  

But as much as we think things change, they do stay the same.  We still have to chase the prostitutes back over the hill and remind their Johns that crossing Courtland is an unwritten no-no.  We still have the odd break-in, but strangely, all of the "Kindercrap" we now have - strollers, trikes and plastic slides, tend to always stay where we left them. For the most part, the unwritten "code" of Cedar Hill remains unchanged.  We've accepted parts, they've accepted parts, and we all just sort of go about our business.  Big Grin
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#58
(05-04-2016, 12:02 AM)CTGal1011 Wrote: Our house was at one time a duplex. We converted it back to a single family dwelling.  Are we part of the gentrification problem? I don't think so.  I don't believe the house as a duplex was at all appropriate for renters. A sketchy side entrance, only one exit for the upper unit? It was unsafe for tenants as it was.

I don't think gentrification is necessarily an evil, and I do think the downsides can be mitigated through constructing enough new housing. But what you're describing most certainly is gentrification. And generally the conversion of houses with two or three apartments to single-family houses is a reduction in housing supply and density, not in itself a great thing. Were the renters of the apartments you considered unsafe able to find comparable housing at a comparable price in a central neigbourhood?

Ideally, Cedar Hill would be able to stay as a mix of housing types and different kinds of people. That should include new developments that can increase the number of people that can live there, so it's not zero sum.
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#59
(05-04-2016, 08:19 AM)mpd618 Wrote:
(05-04-2016, 12:02 AM)CTGal1011 Wrote: Our house was at one time a duplex. We converted it back to a single family dwelling.  Are we part of the gentrification problem? I don't think so.  I don't believe the house as a duplex was at all appropriate for renters. A sketchy side entrance, only one exit for the upper unit? It was unsafe for tenants as it was.

I don't think gentrification is necessarily an evil, and I do think the downsides can be mitigated through constructing enough new housing. But what you're describing most certainly is gentrification. And generally the conversion of houses with two or three apartments to single-family houses is a reduction in housing supply and density, not in itself a great thing. Were the renters of the apartments you considered unsafe able to find comparable housing at a comparable price in a central neigbourhood?

Ideally, Cedar Hill would be able to stay as a mix of housing types and different kinds of people. That should include new developments that can increase the number of people that can live there, so it's not zero sum.

I think the term "gentrification" needs to be eliminated in favour of "re-gentrification" in the case of Downtown Kitchener.   A far as I can tell, provision for the homeless is now as good as it has ever been (at least in Kitchener, Waterloo I'm less sure about).  It seems to me there is no shortage of lower-priced rental housing available within walking distance of the core.  It is something that merits monitoring, but I honestly don't think we have a problem, at least for the foreseeable future.
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#60
(05-04-2016, 12:02 AM)CTGal1011 Wrote: Our house was at one time a duplex. We converted it back to a single family dwelling.  Are we part of the gentrification problem? I don't think so.  I don't believe the house as a duplex was at all appropriate for renters.

You don’t think so, but the renters who were actually living there did think it was appropriate. I don’t personally think “gentrification” is a “problem,” but rather natural change. But, in your case, your family did displace two households. You did that because it was right for you, and that’s good, but I think it’s wrong to start rationalizing the changes we demand based on the implicit assumption that our values are the correct ones.

My neighbourhood has a lot of the dynamics you describe, and a very strong “us” and “them” mentality, too. I think it's unfortunate but also see no solution to it. The people whom I call the newcomers tend to have kids and full-time jobs, and this describes me, too. The old-timers are much more likely to not be employed full-time or year-round, and as a result do things that some of the newcomers consider antisocial or unacceptable. A lot of it is related to how the old-timers interact with homeless people and other transients who spend time in the neighbourhood.

There are concerns about things like needles in parks and vacant lots, and it’s true that there are vacant lots where people sleep. A lot of people have the opinion that these things are caused by or exacerbated by the behaviours of some of the permanent residents (i.e. behaving towards more transient neighbourhood users in ways other than outright hostile). It’s not just rising rents and property taxes that are displacing people. There is a real colonizing mentality among some of my newer neighbours that in my view makes the natural changes even more difficult than they otherwise would be. We’re close to new tech offices and upcoming LRT stations, and I’m nervous about how the neighbourhood will continue to change for some residents in the future.
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