Building and Community Renewal at 1011 Lansdowne Avenue
Located in Ward 18 (Davenport), 1011 Lansdowne Avenue is a high-rise rental apartment building with 352 units. Prior to 2005, the building was the subject of several newspaper articles, where it was identified as one of the worst high-rise residential buildings in Toronto. However, 6 years ago, property management sent in a new team to operate the building and a significant turnaround has transpired.
Between 2006 and 2010, the owner undertook a first round of extensive repairs and retrofits to the building investing over $1M.
The improvements included:
- Apartment upgrades;
- Balcony repairs;
- Security camera installation;
- Conversion of storage space to a recreation room for tenant programming;
- Garage lighting replacement;
- Fire safety upgrades;
- Elevator maintenance; and
- Stairwell maintenance.
In 2010, the property manager applied to the City’s Affordable Housing Office, which administers the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP). With RRAP funding, property management has been able to address the outstanding repairs needed to bring the building up to a state of good repair.¹
1011 Lansdowne Avenue received approximately $1.29 Million from RRAP for repairs, amounting to approximately $3,000/unit. Property management additionally contributed $250,000 from its own resources to maximize the impact of the repairs.
RRAP-related improvements have included: stucco cladding with 13/4” insulation, repairs to the brickwork, a new roof, repairs to damage in units caused by roof leakage, new elevators, a new building communication system, new LED lighting and improvements to the lobby and accessibility ramp. All renovations are expected to be completed in spring 2012. The project will cost a total of $1.54M.
Property Management has also invested in helping to build community at 1011 Lansdowne. Multi-purpose rooms have been added for resident use. Also, through a unique relationship with property management, local mental health service providers have referred a portion of the building residents. On-site support from agencies is provided for residents with mental health challenges in a program space made available by property management free of charge. This space, created from what were once unused storage areas, includes a kitchen, lounge, communal dining area, computer access and office space. These efforts have created affordable, supported living options that are integrated in the community.
The Tower Renewal Office has developed a strong relationship with property management at 1011 Lansdowne Ave and provided guidance to support management’s application for RRAP funding. The improvements at 1011 Lansdowne demonstrate how the City can assist a private landlord in improving its building by leveraging federal funds. Together, we have succeeded in enhancing the quality of housing for low-income Torontonians, better integrating the apartment building into the surrounding community and substantially improved the building’s safety, quality and energy efficiency.
RRAP Program Support
RRAP provides funding of up to $25,000 per unit for repairs to eligible buildings. A combination of tenant incomes, demographics and rental affordability allowed 1011 Lansdowne to meet RRAP funding criteria.
Rents in the building are substantially lower than the maximum affordable amount allowed by RRAP; bachelor apartments rent for $575/month, only 63% of the $915/month permitted by RRAP. The majority of tenants at 1011 Lansdowne Ave are low-income and many receive ODSP or social assistance.
2006 – Change in management staff and approach
2006-2009 – Extensive repairs (>$1M) undertaken by owner
Spring 2010 – RRAP application submitted for additional repairs and retrofits
Fall 2010 – RRAP funding approved ($750,000)
Fall 2011 – Additional RRAP funding awarded to increase extent of repairs ($1.29M in total)
Spring 2011 – RRAP-funded renovations begin
Spring 2012 – RRAP-funded renovations to be completed
$770,000 – Cladding (new insulation and stucco to fix the delamination of the concrete and brick)
$330,000 – New elevators
$160,000 – Renovations to top floor units damaged by roof leaks
$140,000 – New roof and insulation $100,000 – New LED light fixtures in hallways and common areas
$40,000 – Renovations to lobby, entrance, access ramps & installation of a new communication system
¹ The federal RRAP program has now expired. The Affordable Housing Office will begin administering a similar program using federal/provincial funds in 2013. The program will be called Toronto Renovates.