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Feb. 7, 2023

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Vancouver approves property tax exemption on waterfront apartment complex

Building on Block 19 will have 180 units with 36 reserved for income based housing

By , Columbian staff writer
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Construction is underway on Broadstone Apartments Block 19 near the Claro Building, background center, and The Columbia on the Waterfront Vancouver on Tuesday.
Construction is underway on Broadstone Apartments Block 19 near the Claro Building, background center, and The Columbia on the Waterfront Vancouver on Tuesday. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The Vancouver City Council unanimously approved a multifamily property tax exemption Monday night for an under-construction apartment complex on The Waterfront Vancouver’s Block 19.

The exemption is intended to spur the development of affordable housing. In this case, it requires that 36 of the building’s 180 units be reserved for households at or below the area’s median family income — $85,000 for a two-person household in the Portland/Vancouver area.

To meet the definition of income-based housing, the city requires that “households in income-restricted units must pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities.”

The development, known as Broadstone Apartments Block 19, will cost about $74 million to construct and will generate an estimated $17.65 million in taxes over 20 years.

The tax exemption will remain in place for eight years, saving the developer about $2,765,000 during that time, according to city associate planner Bryan Monroe.

Income-based units are priced lower than the market rate — but only marginally in some cases. An income-based studio apartment will start at $1,864 per month, about $20 cheaper than the market rate of $1,885, according to Monroe. One-bedroom apartments will start at $1,966, and two-bedroom units will start at $2,248, compared with market rates of $2,184 and $3,188, respectively.

The council had previously voted against the tax exemption during its Jan. 9 meeting. The new resolution contains a requirement for the property owner to include information about the income-based units on any advertising or marketing materials.

The Broadstone Apartments are one of 41 active multifamily tax exemption projects in the city. The purpose of the exemption is “to accommodate future population growth, provide places to live close to employment, shopping, entertainment, and transit services and encourage more affordable housing,” as stated in the city’s program manual.

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