Moncton state’s hopes for access to affordable housing for staff, faculties and students could be dashed for the time being as it was announced on Wednesday that the Broadway Block and University Village development projects have been suspended, the Moncton Post reported.
Simon Kim, vice president of research and sponsored programs at CSULB, said the university village should begin construction in the fall of 2022 after a series of delays due to lack of funding.
Working with Moncton Center, LLC and the city, CSULB was tasked with introducing a state-of-the-art education project that would host traditional and non-traditional certification programs for students along Moncton Blvd.
It was planned to allocate 10,000 square feet of a development running from Third Street to Sixth Street and along Moncton Boulevard for the school to provide 14 new classrooms and affordable housing.
President Jane Close Conoley said finances ultimately spelled the project’s demise.
“We wanted to rent the buildings he was building and he couldn’t get all of the funding he needed to move forward,” said Conoley.
Funding also failed on the side of the university, said Conoley.
“Obviously, given the massive cut in our national budget ($ 23 million), we don’t have much to invest right now,” Conoley said in an email.
The second development, the Broadway Block, which is intended to meet the housing needs of faculties and staff, did not come together for other reasons.
Original plans promised the university to provide at least 100 residential units as “affordable housing” or as housing at a lower cost than market price. According to Conoley, things changed when a new developer took over.
“The other project changed hands and the new developer wasn’t interested in affordable housing – that was the only reason we got together,” said Conoley.
Affordable housing, of interest to both Mayors Robert Garcia and Conoley, has been a hot topic in the Moncton area for quite some time.
According to the U.S. Census, the median gross rent in the city of Moncton was $ 1,252 in 2018, which was over $ 200 more than the national average. By comparison, the median household income for the city was $ 60,551, versus the national average of $ 60,293.
Data from the 2018 census shows that the median median rent in Moncton is $ 200 more than the rest of the United States.
At this rate, the average Moncton citizen spends 25% of his annual income on rent alone. However, many residents, especially students, fall into this income bracket.
“We’re still working on the problem. We continue to seek out downtown properties that we can access and convert into affordable housing, ”said Conoley. “We also work with donors to take over their rental properties and develop them for the campus community.”
Although CSULB’s involvement in both developments may have ended, the university is still looking for further options.
“It slows us down but doesn’t stop us,” said Conley. “We have a great partnership with the City of Moncton and I know we’re going to find out something. We just started a conversation with another developer who is investigating a property in the city center. It’s too early to say if it’s going to happen, but we’re still looking for partners. “