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The City of London has approved its first successful application to the new office-to-residential community improvement program (CIP). The former Rexall building at 166 Dundas St. is being transformed into 15 residential units. The upper floors will primarily consist of two-bedroom residential units, with some commercial space remaining on the lower levels. The project highlights the creation of new housing, repurposing of vacant commercial spaces, and the revitalization of downtown, according to Ward 13 Coun. David Ferreira. Real estate development firm MAAS Group purchased the building from Farhi Holdings and decided to convert the unused office spaces into residential units, with construction already underway and units expected to be ready for occupancy by the fall.
The project for 166 Dundas St. received $414,947 in funding from the city’s office-to-residential CIP, with a up to $2 million forgivable loan per property available. Mayor Josh Morgan stated that the investment in the iconic corner of the city signifies positive change and improvement in downtown London. He highlighted the progress being made in the city, with 7,100 high-density residential units under construction and the need for more housing of all types. The success of this project reflects the community’s urgency for housing and the city’s commitment to addressing the housing crisis through timely conversion projects.
The office-to-residential CIP program allows for the conversion of office spaces into residential units to increase the supply of housing in downtown London. While the units at 166 Dundas St. will be listed at market value, there will be some geared-to-income and affordable housing units included in the project. Scott Mathers, deputy city manager for planning and economic development, emphasized the benefits that future residents will enjoy, such as easy access to transportation options and events at Dundas Place. Mayor Morgan initially announced the details of the office-to-residential program conversion, which was later approved by council in February following the federal government’s announcement of the housing accelerator fund in January. London was the first city to receive funding under this program.
The successful application for the office-to-residential CIP program reflects the city’s efforts to address the housing crisis and provide more housing options in the core of London. The speed at which the proposal for 166 Dundas St. is moving forward demonstrates the city’s commitment to improving housing availability and efficiency. Mathers expressed the city’s desire to see more housing projects in the downtown area and the benefits that residents will experience by living in a vibrant urban environment. The program aims to create a balance between market rate housing and affordable housing units, catering to the diverse needs of the community.
The conversion of the former Rexall building into residential units represents a significant step towards revitalizing downtown London and repurposing vacant commercial spaces. The project at 166 Dundas St. highlights the commitment of the city to provide more housing options and address the housing crisis in the community. The success of this project, with construction already underway and units set to be ready for occupancy by fall, demonstrates the collaborative efforts of the city and real estate developers in transforming unused office spaces into much-needed residential units. With ongoing construction of high-density residential units, the city is moving in the right direction towards a more vibrant and sustainable downtown core.

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