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Two more housing projects received multifamily tax exemptions Monday night with the unanimous support of the Vancouver City Council.

The tax exemption is available to developers working on either affordable housing or market-rate housing with added public benefit.

The last exemption was approved in September for Marathon Acquisition & Development’s project at Providence Academy. Marathon’s exemption was awarded because of proposed public benefit on the site rather than affordable units. The project includes a public plaza and art installations.

The first project backed by the council Monday was Grand Apartments JV, LLC. The Grand Park Apartments are also the first rehabilitation project to receive a tax exemption from the city, according to Peggy Sheehan, Vancouver’s community and economic development programs manager.

The building has been vacant since September 2017. The existing three-story building will keep its 10 multifamily units, but two of the units will be affordable to people who earn less than 80 percent of the area’s median income.

When the $1.6 million redevelopment is complete, the units will cost between $995 for a studio to $1,300 for a one and a half bedroom, one bathroom apartment. The city estimates it will forgo $12,000 in property tax revenue during the 10-year exemption.

“It’s going to end up being a very nice piece of property on that corner,” Sheehan said.

The other project approved for an exemption Monday is a $2.9 million development by WDC Construction LLC. The developer is replacing two single-family residences with a two-story building housing 20 multifamily units.

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WDC received an eight-year tax exemption in exchange for providing four affordable units with those units affordable to those who earn less than 100 percent of the area’s median income. Sheehan said in Vancouver the area median income at the moment is $65,200 per year for a two-person household. The proposed rents will range from $900 for a studio to $1,400 for a two-bedroom, one bathroom apartment.

The city estimates it will lose $36,000 in property taxes as a result of the eight-year exemption.

“They’re moving right along with their project,” Sheehan said. “They even have the windows in.”

To date, Vancouver has approved 24 projects and an additional 2,047 units, 498 of which are income restricted.


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