Building and Construction Canada - September/October 2011 - (Page 52)
with the appliances already installed. The contractors then put them into place, lock them together and connect them. Our rental rates are based on the construction cost of the development, so this method is great to lower our prices.” WBHDC added approximately 130 families to its affordable homeownership program in 2011, bringing the total number of families in the program to 300. Through this program, new homebuying families with qualifying incomes – who would not otherwise be able to afford a home in Wood Buffalo – are eligible to get specialized affordable mortgages on WBHDC’s newly constructed homes. Each purchaser arranges a first mortgage as part of the payment for the home, and WBHDC offers a second mortgage based on the family’s income. The operation has five developments
with homes in this program, the most recent being Hawthorne Heights in Eagle Ridge. Hawthorne Heights consists of 108 two-bedroom condominiums (some with dens) and 20 town houses. Lutes notes that Hawthorne Height’s units were fully occupied by September. A Growing Need WBHDC tenders the bidding of its projects throughout Western Canada, and each development usually is built under a design/build, stipulated price or construction management contract. The organization ensures quality, Lutes says, by producing detailed specifications and using its team of in-house inspectors to monitor the developments throughout the construction process. Once the buildings are constructed,
the organization maintains quality at its properties by staffing them with its own property managers. Of WBHDC’s 110 employees, approximately 20 are property managers, while the remaining operate its homeless shelter and senior developments. Lutes explains WBHDC will expand its work force as it builds more developments, which will be necessary for quite some time. “Our ultimate vision is to go out of business because the need for affordable housing is no longer there, but I don’t see that happening any time soon,” he says. “We will continue to grow over the next six to eight years to address the region’s housing needs, because you can’t have people working here who can’t afford to live here. To succeed, we will continue as a not-for-profit operation that uses a forprofit business model.” x
b&c canada september/october 2011
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