The Vision SoHo Alliance, a newly formed partnership between six nonprofit housing developers, is purchasing the vacant Old Victoria Hospital lands in London. Together, the partners will develop a vibrant mixed-use housing complex that will increase the supply of affordable housing in our community.
Indwell is a founding member of the Vision SoHo Alliance, and will create and operate about 110 units of deeply affordable housing with supports, retrofitting two heritage buildings. Over 600 units will be created in total.
With a 3.4% vacancy rate, and COVID-19 increasing the urgency of London’s housing crisis, the need for more affordable housing in our community is greater than ever. Recognizing this need, London Community Foundation convened the Vision SoHo Alliance, a group of local nonprofit affordable housing developers working together to create a mixed-use housing development on the old Victoria Hospital Lands site. The Alliance includes Indwell, Zerin Development Corporation, Homes Unlimited, Chelsea Green Home Society, London Affordable Housing Foundation, and the Italian Seniors’ Project.
The mixed-use development will enhance the SoHo neighbourhood and prioritize livability and sustainability through environmentally friendly building, green space, retail space, underground parking, and accessibility to public transit. Units will range in cost of rent, with some being market rate, and others at affordable rates. The Indwell units will be highly affordable and will offer supports for tenants seeking health, wellness and belonging.
While each partner will be responsible for their own unique building, by working together as an alliance with complementary development, they will create a well-planned addition to the SoHo neighbourhood.
The focus area for the development is the Old Victoria Hospital Lands Part II, which includes 124 Colborne Street—as well as the lands bounded by Waterloo Street, South Street, Colborne Street, and Hill Street.
“The Vision SoHo Alliance of non-profit housing developers is able to move quickly to help reduce London’s housing crisis that extends to both market and affordable housing residents in a low vacancy housing market,” said Sylvia Harris, Project Developer with Indwell and Chair of the Vision SoHo Alliance. “The members are motivated to construct financially sustainable developments to maximize the benefits for the community in partnership with the City of London.”
“We’re delighted to be part of this Alliance of like-minded non-profit developers,” said Jeff Neven, Executive Director. “It’s rare to have so many competent non-profit developers in one city. Together, we will make a big dent in London’s affordable and market housing needs.”
Indwell and its partner Invizij Architects have worked on a variety of heritage buildings of value, both designated and undesignated. In each project, they strive to maintain as many historic elements as possible, and are guided by the value of enhancing meaning of place and purpose for both the broader community and tenants through heritage preservation. These values are what draw Invizij and Indwell to the renovation of the War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Health Services Building as an important opportunity to cement the incredible history of both buildings into the architectural fabric of the neighbourhood and the city.
Indwell will now seek funding from government sources and the community, with a goal to begin remediation and renovation in 2021.