Behind The Deal

Four ways Oxford’s Ashley Mar is a case study in smart development

A look behind the largest co-op redevelopment in Canada.

June 22, 2023

One of Oxford’s strategic priorities is to help address housing affordability challenges in major cities across the globe by delivering much needed supply of high-quality, professionally managed rental apartments. As part of this goal, in Q4 2021 Oxford announced the establishment of a joint venture with Intracorp Homes to develop 649 rental apartments at the site of the Ashley Mar Housing Co-operative in South Vancouver.

The project will transform what was 54 deteriorating low-rise units, into a modern, sustainability-oriented, three-tower complex. Comprising two new market rental towers (27-storey and 31-storey) and a 16-storey co-op tower, a total of 649 rental apartments—including 125 affordable co-op units—will be delivered.

With excavation work complete and cranes officially in the sky as of this month, it provides a fine opportunity to take a closer look at what makes the project so unique. Thoughtfully delivering density without compromising sustainability or community, here are four ways the Ashley Mar redevelopment is a case study in smart development and urban intensification.

1. A public-private solution to Vancouver’s growing housing affordability problem

Established in 1983, the Ashley Mar Housing Co-operative (Ashley Mar) has offered non-market rate housing to individuals and families in Vancouver for over 35 years, accommodating 54 households. With the quality of these units in decline, the co-op knew it needed to revitalize the site, but required a partnership with developers possessing the capital and capabilities to execute the largest co-op redevelopment in the history of Canada. Enter Oxford Properties and Intracorp Homes.

By working hand-in-hand with Oxford and Intracorp, Ashley Mar will more than double its impact in the community by housing over twice the amount of people within the co-op. While the broader South Vancouver community will benefit from the addition of a significant amount of sorely needed and new professionally-managed rental apartments to the market.

2. Adds smart density to a Vancouver market in critical need

A lack of housing supply in Vancouver has been well established. As of Q4 2022, Vancouver faced a 0.9% purpose built rental vacancy, amongst the lowest in Canada.

To help address this, the collaborative vision between Oxford, Intracorp and the Ashley Mar Co-operative will see the project add thoughtful density to support population growth in an area already well-served by transit. Located in South Vancouver’s Marpole neighbourhood, steps from the Canada Line of Vancouver’s SkyTrain rapid transit system, the nearly 1.5-acre site will offer a range of bachelor, one, two and three-bedroom homes to accommodate a diversity of renters, including families, within its 524 units.

3. Delivers sustainability excellence

The Ashley Mar redevelopment will achieve the City of Vancouver’s Low Emissions Green Buildings energy efficiency targets, aligning with Oxford’s longstanding commitment to sustainability and decarbonization. While the site will prominently feature a range of green amenities, including electric vehicle charging stalls and hundreds of bicycle parking spaces—enabling us to constrain the number of carbon intensive parking stalls and promote both active and sustainable transportation.

4. Centred on community

Working closely with co-op members to breathe new life into their housing while preserving the sense of community established over the course of three decades was a key priority for Oxford and Intracorp. Ensuring a smooth transition, Oxford and Intracorp have assisted the temporary relocation of existing residents within the local area. Once construction completes residents will return to the new building, which will remain owned and operated by the co-op.

What co-op members will return to, has been designed to ensure Ashley Mar’s sense of community is safeguarded for decades to come. The new co-op tower will feature modern amenities, including a fitness studio, rooftop area, indoor and outdoor amenity spaces for children, and a lending library where members can share tools and equipment. This approach led to the vast majority of Ashley Mar residents voting to move forward with the project and a unanimous vote of approval from Vancouver city council.

Project construction is slated for completion in 2025.