January 11, 2018 10:14 pm

Shortage of on-campus housing leads to construction boom near UBC-Okanagan

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A shortage of student housing on and near the UBC-Okanagan campus has led to a housing boom in that area of Kelowna.

“It’s probably one of our fastest growing neighbourhoods in the city right now,” community planning manager with the City of Kelowna said.

The area known as U-District is situated in the hills next to the university campus.

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“We are seeing housing of all different types being built very quickly out there,” Smith said. “There’s some commercial going in, there’s micro-suites out there, there is a single-family sub-division and some townhouses so hundreds and hundreds of units, probably close to a thousand units out there now and it is still not built out yet.”

One of the main players is the Mission Group. The development company has already constructed four buildings totaling 265 units.

Many of the units have been sold to investors and parents of students including second-year student Alisha Sidhu.

“My father owns one of the rooms in the building,” Sidhu said. “The prices were good and it was good for investment.”

Mission Group is currently constructing its fifth building in the U-District and has just announced it will begin construction on building number six next month. In addition to that, it’s already planning its seventh building.

A news release issued by Mission Group on Wednesday stated investors and parents of students have the ability to turn rent money into home equity and earn an income by renting the condominiums to their children and roommates if desired.

About 9,000 students attend UBC-Okanagan but on-campus housing can only accommodate 1,676 of them.

However, there are plans to build an additional 450 on-campus spaces which are expected to be ready for occupancy in fall 2020.

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