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  • Liam Fox

Chelsea finally affordable

There’s a lot of discussion in Chelsea – and elsewhere – around affordable housing these days, and while the municipality isn’t typically known for this, that’s about to change.


A local developer’s project will be the first in the municipality to qualify under the affordability, accessibility and climate compatibility criteria set by a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) program.


The program, called MLI Select, offers developers insurance incentives based on a project’s ability to meet modern sustainable development goals.


The project at 185 Ch. Old Chelsea is on track to be completed between December 2023 and January 2024. It is already drawing interest from businesses and potential tenants, according to InHarmony Developments founder, president and CEO Marc Shank. Excavation is currently underway for the site.


The modern mixed-use project in the heart of Chelsea will include: 30 residential units, six of them one-bedroom, which are located on the bottom floor and are geared towards accessibility.


The project will also include 24 two-bedroom residential units along with six commercial units.


Six multi-residential buildings, each three-storeys tall, will consist of a ground floor commercial unit facing Old Chelsea road, an accessible ground floor one-bedroom studio unit and five, two-bedroom residential units.


Three of the units will be allotted as affordable, which is measured at 30 per cent of the regional median income for renters, spread out over a year. The approximate median income for a renter of the project would be measured at around $40,000, but a revised number will be confirmed when the affordable units are offered, said Shank.


InHarmony Developments is placing a major emphasis on being environmentally-friendly with this project, said Shank.


The project is being developed on what was once a contaminated brownfield, which was fully cleaned in the fall of 2022, in accordance with the Quebec Ministry of Environment and Environment Canada specification, explained Shank.


He added that the development will not be connected to a nearby gas line: “The gas [is] right there. Like right on our side of the road. [But] we will be purposely committed to reducing our carbon footprint.”


All of the materials for the project are being locally sourced at a maximum of 600 to 700 kilometres from Chelsea, according to Shank.


“It seems [like] a lot, but a bulk of these materials are produced in Quebec or Ontario,”

said Shank. The project will use heat pumps as an energy efficient source for heating and cooling, he said.


The development is designed to exceed provincial and national building standards in 2017 by 25 to 40 per cent for energy performance and building materials, according to Marc-Alexander Shank, the project manager for InHarmony Developments - not to be confused with owner and CEO Marc Shank.


The project will also promote active transportation, electric vehicles and ridesharing, by limiting parking space to one vehicle per apartment – a reduction from the benchmark of two – and including eight electric vehicle charging stations, a communal car-sharing program and mobility lanes, according to Marc-Alexander.


“We’re quite content and happy with it. From an operational perspective, once it’s built we’ll be able to potentially say that it’s a carbon neutral footprint,” said Shank.


Although advertising for the project hasn’t begun, InHarmony Developments has opened its pre-leasing list and is encouraging Chelsea residents to apply before the company lists the units to the wider public.


“We wanted people that are local to have, to a certain extent, first dibs on the units,” said Marc-Alexander.


InHarmony Developments will be sharing updates on the project as it progresses with the Ward 2 Residents’ Association, according to Shank.


“If anybody wants additional information, ideally they can reach out directly to the Ward 2 Residents’ Association,” he said.

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