Residents fear opening of Sequel 138 condo project

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Workers on the site of the new Sequel 138 development at 138 E. Hastings (opposite Insite) say that the building should open up in December.  It will contain 79 condos that cost about $250,000 and more, 9 social housing units at welfare rate and 9 social housing units that will rent for BC Housing Income Limits ($912). The development also includes 10 retail storefronts that are selling for around $1 million each, the largest selling for $1.36 million.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of units in the development are unaffordable condominium units, BC Housing has arranged interim construction financing of $21.8 million to the developer. Journalist Mark Hasiuk calls it “the sweetest government deal since 40 acres and a mule.”

At the SRO convention on Oct. 18th, CCAP volunteers and staff asked community members what they thought of this new development.  Here is what some people said:

  • “They don’t like the likes of us around, that’s for sure. As soon as you go in [to gentrifying businesses] they give you a funny look and follow you around as though you’re gonna steal something.”
  • “It’s gonna be a scar on the DTES and probably they’ll have security there too.”
  • “There won’t be any cheap rent any more.”
  • “What are they gonna think of the people who live in the DTES?  There’ll be security there watching every move I make.”
  • “The people who live there are gonna want to get rid of people like us”
  • “It’s not gonna be housing for people down here.”
  • “It’s gonna be high rent and tough to afford.”
  • ”Its out of place.  Too advanced for that neighbourhood.  It only has 9 units for us.  The others won’t be used to what happens on that street.  They come with their dogs and the dogs piss all over the sidewalk.  I live in the Lucky Lodge and there’s a condo place next to it.  The condo residents keep to themselves.”
  • “They don’t care. Who cares about us?”  
  • “The so-called affordable housing is not affordable.”
  • “It should have been social housing.”
  • “Everything is changing too fast.  They’ll probably tear down the buildings on either side.”
  • “It’s gonna be like Alexander St.  The “good” people walk on one side and the not so “good” on the other side.”
  • “Lend me a quarter million and I’ll live there.”
  • “The ‘hood should be for us low income people.  It’s not our fault.  I have hep C and my doctors are here.”
  • “I don’t like it really.  It’s gonna be a high and mighty race coming down here.”
  • “Too much condos; they should care about homeless people first.”
  • “It sucks. It should be social housing.”
  • “It is ridiculous. They are selling the entire downtown eastside to rich people.”
  • “I thought it was for low-income people. Condos on the 100 block is not good.”
  • “It will put Insite at risk of being closed.”
  • “Gentrification is seeping in block by block. The gentrifiers are succeeding. We need housing for low-income people.”
  • “It is going to become like rail town: segregated.”
  • “Why can’t they help us out? We were here before.”
  • “A lot of people will be forced out of the neighbourhood.”