A residential highrise up for discussion, and potential approval, on Tuesday at city council is a tower with an affordable housing difference.

The design of the 181-unit building by LJM Developments at 400 Southdale Rd. E. features a stylish, stepped look, and the developer will offer four units to the city to use for affordable housing.

But this is not your usual affordable housing pitch.


The tower, located along Southdale between Wellington and Wharncliffe roads, will feature condominiums when it hits the market, and the developer has offered four units to city hall to add to its housing stock. They would be handed over to the city’s Housing Development Corp. division and could be used as affordable units or geared-to-income or, really, whatever city officials want to do with them, said Coun. Steve Lehman, chairperson of council’s planning committee.

Usually a builder will offer some units for affordable housing, collecting rent at about 80 per cent of market value for about 50 years. This initiative gives the units to city hall, offering greater flexibility in how they can be used, Lehman said.


“I’ve never seen it. This is an unusual move, but in this time of massive change and need I think we will see unique solutions like this one coming to the market,” he said.


City hall is poised to allow the building to have greater height and density than usually allowed on site in exchange for the affordable units, a trade called bonusing. Although the proposed building is seven storeys at its tallest, the stepped-back design features sections of six and five storeys.