In addition to the preservation and creation of affordable units, and decarbonization plans, Dream has also unveiled new free resident programming.
TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dream Unlimited Corp. “Dream Unlimited” (TSX: DRM), Dream Impact Trust “Dream Impact” (TSX: MPCT.UN) and Dream Impact Fund, collectively referred to as “Dream”, today announced it successfully secured insured financing under Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (“CMHC”) new MLI Select insurance product through TD Bank. The $153 million insured loan through TD will finance Dream’s plans to preserve and increase the number of affordable units from 52 to 189 at the Residence at Weston apartment complex – representing 40 percent of all units. The affordable units will not exceed 30 per cent of Toronto’s median renter income. Dream will also decrease energy consumption by a minimum of 15 per cent and greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 25 per cent.
Through collaborative engagement, Dream supported CMHC as they designed this innovative multi-unit insurance product. Launched earlier this month, MLI Select uses a points-based system that offers increasing insurance incentives based on a borrower’s commitments to social and climate related outcomes, including affordability, accessibility, and energy efficiency.
“We’re so pleased to work with Dream and TD to bring more affordable housing to Toronto. The introduction of MLI Select is another important tool that will help transform existing supply into sustainable and affordable housing across the country,” says Romy Bowers, President and CEO of CMHC.
The project financing was achievable through collaboration with TD as the lender, leveraging their experience and expertise throughout the process. This is an example of financial institutions, the federal government, and private entities working collaboratively to address pressing societal and environmental issues. The new MLI Select product will allow building owners, including asset managers and non-profits, to transform their buildings into resilient, affordable, and accessible homes working with their approved lenders.
“We are incredibly proud to have collaborated with Dream and CHMC on this forward-thinking product that helps to address the acute affordability challenges Canadians continue to face. Today’s announcement demonstrates a creative approach for increasing the supply of affordable housing here in Toronto and we hope it will inspire future sustainable and inclusive housing developments in cities and communities across the country,” says Andrew Phillips, Deputy Chair, Head of Real Estate and Diversified Industries, Investment Banking for TD.
Residence at Weston, part of the Weston Common mixed-use complex in the Weston Mount Dennis neighbourhood, is a 30-storey rental tower built in 1974 with 472 residential rental units, the Artscape community hub, West 22, an adjacent 30-storey rental building that includes 369 newly developed units, and 42,000 sq. ft. of commercial space.
Due to the insured financing, Dream has already begun converting 137 units to affordable units and has also begun retrofitting the Residence at Weston to achieve its decarbonization targets. This work includes: implementing new boilers, mechanical and plumbing systems; enhancing balcony insulation; and, installing high-performing doors and windows. At nearly 50 years old, aging apartment buildings like the Residence at Weston have long been identified as big carbon emitters and require a new way of thinking to ensure the long-term viability for residents and the environment. The retrofit is expected to take place over the next two years with minimal disruption to building residents.
“Apartment complexes like Residence at Weston require a meaningful approach to ensure they are healthy and resilient homes for generations to come. Our work at Residence at Weston serves as an example that retrofits are a critical piece of our housing stock and can preserve much-needed affordable and accessible housing while addressing climate change,” says Michael Cooper, President and Chief Responsible Officer at Dream. “The most sustainable building is one that already exists, and it’s incumbent on us all to find new ways of working with what we have and bring them up to a high level of performance.”
New programming coming to Weston Common by the Dream Community Foundation
Dream has also unveiled new programming that is beginning this month at Weston Common, with funding from the Dream Community Foundation. The creation of these new programs were informed by feedback and input from all residents. Initial programs are set to launch on-site this month, including free community fitness classes, such as kickboxing and yoga; free weekly breakfast and coffee socials; and subsidies for Toronto’s Bike Share memberships.
Later this spring, additional programming will be rolled out, including: free art classes for seniors and youth; free skills training classes, such as tax, resume-writing and language classes; and free tutoring and homework help for younger children, among others.
The programs showcase a first-of-its-kind model whereby a building owner has electively integrated a robust range of not-for-profit programming within a mixed-income community. The programs will be delivered by a dedicated Community Ambassador on-site at Weston Common as well as non-profits partners.
“These programs have been created alongside Weston Common residents who expressed a desire for a diversity of programming and strong social connections within the Weston-Mount Dennis neighbourhood,” says Krystal Koo, Chair of the Dream Community Foundation Board. “We are excited to introduce an extensive slate of year-round programs and services that can improve socio-economic, health and cultural outcomes for all residents.”
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About Dream Unlimited Corp.
Founded in 1994 with a vision to revolutionize the way people live and work, Dream is one of Canada’s leading real estate companies, with over $15 billion on assets across North America and Europe. Across the Dream group platform, there is approximately 4 million square feet of GLA in retail or commercial properties and over 20,000 condominium or purpose-built rental units in our development pipeline and 9,000 acres of lands across Western Canada. Responsible for some of the country’s most iconic and transformative projects, we always invest with purpose, embracing creativity, passion and innovation, delivering strong returns, while positively impacting the communities and the world around us through our focus on impact investing.
About Dream Impact Trust
Dream Impact Trust is an open-ended trust dedicated to impact investing. Dream Impact’s underlying portfolio is comprised of exceptional real estate assets reported under two operating segments: development and recurring income, that would not be otherwise available in a public and fully transparent vehicle, managed by an experienced team with a successful track record in these areas. The objectives of Dream Impact are to create positive and lasting impacts for our stakeholders through our three impact verticals: environmental sustainability and resilience, attainable and affordable housing, and inclusive communities, while generating attractive returns for investors.
About Dream Impact Fund
Dream Impact Fund LP was created in March 2021 and is one of the world’s first open-ended funds dedicated exclusively to impact investing. The Fund is managed by a vertically integrated team with significant track record in impact investments. Our impact strategy is consistent with Dream Unlimited’s three impact verticals: environmental sustainability and resilience, attainable and affordable housing, and inclusive communities.
About Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
CMHC supports the housing market and financial system stability by providing support for Canadians in housing need, and by offering housing research and advice to all orders of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. For more information, follow us on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.
About TD Bank Group
The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group (“TD” or the “Bank”). TD is the fifth largest bank in North America by assets and serves more than 26 million customers in three key businesses operating in a number of locations in financial centers around the globe: Canadian Retail, including TD Canada Trust, TD Auto Finance Canada, TD Wealth (Canada), TD Direct Investing, and TD Insurance; U.S. Retail, including TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, TD Auto Finance U.S., TD Wealth (U.S.), and an investment in The Charles Schwab Corporation; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD also ranks among the world’s leading online financial services firms, with more than 15 million active online and mobile customers. TD had CDN$1.8 trillion in assets on January 31, 2022. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol “TD” on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.