The Edmonton Community Development Company (ECDC) is determined to redevelop 22 more problem properties within the next two years as a follow-up to its Project 10 initiative.
In 2020, the organization sought to acquire and demolish 10 derelict properties and build new homes for families to buy.
This pilot project was a proof of concept in response to detrimental issues residents are experiencing in mature neighbourhoods. Problem properties attract criminal activity and pose a major safety concern for the community.
These boarded-up homes are often in terrible shape, with run-down exteriors and strewn garbage surrounding the property. Having encountered former meth labs and highly volatile chemicals, the team never knows what they’ll find when they enter these houses. In one case, team members almost fell through a hole because there had been an undisclosed fire in the basement.
The ECDC has two new modern duplexes on the market in McCauley and Alberta Avenue. They hope to sell one of these properties and use those funds to purchase their 11th property in order to reinvest the money into buying more problem properties. Karen Gingras, executive director of ECDC, says, “Hopefully, that occurs before the end of this year. If not, then we anticipate making a purchase in the first quarter of 2023.”
Most of the derelict properties purchased for Project 10 were located northeast of downtown, but ECDC is looking to expand to other communities such as Inglewood, Britannia-Youngstown, Balwin, Belvedere, Queen Mary Park, Central McDougall, Jasper Place, and Chinatown.
“We are seeking to add problem and derelict properties in these neighbourhoods to our database, so we are seeking addresses and pictures from residents in the communities,” says Gingras.
Skil-Tec and Euro Design Master Builder (EDMB) specialize in infill development and are building new homes for Project 10. According to Gingras, they plan to partner with these builders in their upcoming projects.
“We will be increasing the minimum energy efficiency requirements from our builders and want to build basement suites in each unit so people can have them for extended family or to rent out. Since we would like to purchase and build on 22 sites, we hope to find at least one additional builder that aligns with our goals and can build a quality product in the price range we’d like to keep so that the homes remain affordably priced.”
Another aspect the organization wants to add with these next properties is a home ownership program that includes financial literacy and a matched savings account.
“We are also at the beginning of plans for a homeownership program with a non-profit organization in Edmonton. Hopefully we can launch these two homeownership programs before the end of 2022,” Gingras adds.
The ECDC’s redevelopment initiative aligns with Edmonton’s Neighbourhood Revitalization Program outlined in their 10-year strategic City Plan. With the support of the city, ECDC aims to improve livability in mature neighbourhoods while maintaining vibrancy and promoting equity for all Edmontonians.
For more information, visit www.edmontoncdc.org.