The Blue Mountains Attainable Housing Corporation (BMAHC) is moving ahead with the Gateway Project.
BMAHC recently issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a design-builder for the Gateway Project. Gateway is a proposed attainable housing project on former Foodland property in Thornbury (171 King St. East). The project includes 84 total rental units, a minimum of 50 per cent of which must be attainable, and a commercial component as well.
The RFP is by invitation. BMAHC previously conducted a pre-qualification process and four companies have been invited to respond. They are: Buttcon Limited, Matheson Constructors Limited, Percon Construction Inc. and R-Hauz Housing Solutions.
Issuing the RFP is a big step forward for the project, said Jennifer Bisley, executive director of the housing corporation.
“We got it all together. It’s a critical document,” said Bisley in an interview. “It communicates the community’s aspirations and objectives so we can get the best proposals possible.”
Bisley said BMAHC held a proponents meeting on June 27, which she said is: “kind of like a kick off that the process is underway.”
Bid submissions are due by early September 2022.
Bisley said it’s important to recognize that the construction business is volatile right now. She noted that rising inflation and a lot of building activity is creating some uncertainty.
“We do need to be mindful that it's a competitive marketplace. We do need to respond to what we’re hearing in the market,” she said. “It makes it a very interesting process.”
In addition to the RFP being issued, another critical component for the project was achieved when The Blue Mountains council, on June 28, voted to transfer ownership of 171 King St. East to the housing corporation.
“The transfer of land and having that complete was a key. It’s a critical milestone. The design/builders need that certainty and want to know we have the land,” said Bisley.
Once the RFP process is complete and a successful proposal has been selected, BMAHC can then proceed to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation with an application to fund the project.
The plan is to apply for funding through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, which has both grant and loan elements.