More than four and a half years after it was initially approved, construction has officially begun on the City of Toronto’s First Housing Now development.

Located at 5207 Dundas Street West, the development will bring 725 new rental homes, including 218 affordable units, to Etobicoke.

Development of the site was previously awarded to the Kilmer Group and Tricon Residential, who, along with Henriquez Partners Architects, Smoke Architecture, and Claude Cormier et Associés, will transform the former Six Points Interchange into a new mixed-use community.

Renderings released in October 2022 show a pair of towers with honeycombed exteriors centred around a lush courtyard. Oriented to face each other, both towers will be situated atop L-shaped podiums. Construction of the second tower, which will be located on the Housing Now site at 925 Kipling Avenue, will start at a later date.

"We are incredibly proud to partner with the City of Toronto to increase the supply of rental housing in North America’s fastest growing city and, in doing so, add much-needed affordable units within this complete community," said Andrew Joyner, Managing Director of Tricon Residential, adding that 5207 Dundas will make a "positive and lasting impact on the heart of Etobicoke for generations to come."

Units will range from one to four bedrooms, and the development will also include retail and amenity spaces, services to support residents’ needs, and public spaces for community gathering.

Rents for the affordable units will range from 40% to 100% of the average market rent, which the City said will make them attainable for those in need of deeply affordable rental housing.

"Building more affordable housing is critical to creating a city that’s accessible and inclusive to everyone. The City is committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing so that people of all different income levels and occupations can afford to live here," said Mayor Olivia Chow.

"The City’s Housing Now program is a great example of how strong partnerships between multiple levels of government, the private sector, the non-profit sector, and the local community can help us build the housing we need."

Initially approved by City Council in January 2019, the Housing Now Initiative aims to deliver more than 16,000 new homes, approximately 5,500 of which will be affordable rental units, by 2030.

When it launched, it was billed as a quick way to convert under-utilized City-owned land into housing. The City previously attributed the years-long delay to the high cost of building materials throughout the pandemic, as well as lost revenue as a result of Ontario’s Bill 23, which cuts development charges — the City’s main source of funding for building new housing.

To date, 21 City-owned, transit-oriented sites have been allocated to the initiative. Ten sites have been re-zoned, of which six have completed market offerings.

Construction is expected to begin on two other Housing Now sites before the end of the year — 50 Wilson Heights Boulevard, near Allen Road and the 401, and 140 Merton Street, near Davisville Avenue and Yonge Street.

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