Hamilton Spectator: ‘We’d like to stay’: Valery Group working to rehouse Ventura Towers tenants displaced by demolitions
Posted December 3, 2021
Posted on December 3, 2021
Last month, tenants and housing advocates rallied outside of 192 Hughson St. N., calling on Valery Group to halt their development plans for Ventura Towers, which they described as “demovictions” and “renovictions” — tactics that housing advocates say landlords use to get tenants out and raise rents under the guise of repairs.
Advocates said the plans, which also impact 181 John St. N., would disproportionately affect more than a dozen racialized and low-income tenants.
In a recent interview with The Spectator, Valery Group vice-president Paul Valeri said of the 22 tenants offered compensation packages, ranging from $20,000 to $10,000, more than a dozen agreed to vacate the buildings. At least four tenants “stayed firm” and want to remain in the building, he added.
For those families, the developer said they are working to relocate them into vacant units within the building, while still charging “very affordable” rent.
“It would be very similar to what they’re paying now,” said Valeri. “We’re working with them to find adequate housing.”
Speaking to The Spectator Wednesday, a tenant said they’re “working with Valery Group to relocate in the building” as they live on a fixed income and “need to have the same rent.”
“We can’t afford to move,” said the tenant, who did not want their name used due to personal safety concerns. “This is our home, and our community … we’d like to stay.”
Plans for the building
Valeri said prior to redevelopment, the first six floors of each building had 71 units, making for a total of 142 units. Post-redevelopment, Valeri said those same floors are expected to consist of 125 mixed units — making for a total of 250 units.
As for cost of rent, Valeri said there will be a component of “affordable” and market rentals, although he could not confirm how many units will be affordable when asked by The Spectator.
The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city is currently $1,439, according to Zumper, an online apartment listing service.
“It’s not just your standard run-of-the-mill scum lord who bought a building and wants to turn it over … and raise all the rents,” said Valeri. “This is going to fill a need that is very important … especially with how the housing market is downtown.”
Article by Fallon Hewitt for the Hamilton Spectator