Seven solutions to help non-profit promoters deliver more affordable units

UTILE plans to build and operate 3,000 affordable student housing units by 2027

Why It Matters

Real estate developers have little to gain from building affordable units. Even when laws force them to include those units in their projects, like Montreal’s 20-20-20 rules, they pay a fine not to do so. Non-profit housing is still the most efficient way to ensure a critical mass of long-term affordable units in a community.

In 2026, at the corner of Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Ontario Street in downtown Montreal, 167 affordable student units will replace Les Katacombes building, once the meeting place for metal music fans.

Promoter UTILE will rent these units 20 to 30 per cent under market prices. Le Méridien is this non-profit’s third student housing project in Montreal and its fourth in Quebec.

UTILE received preferential treatment from the City of Montreal for this project, obtaining a waiver to allow greater density. By adding extra floors, UTILE will see land value increase by $5.6 million. This sum will add leverage to finance the next affordable student housing project. UTILE plans to build and operate 3,000 affordable student housing units by 2027.

Montreal also created a fast track for project processing; Le Méridien saved a year. In the current inflationary context, th

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