Tiny condos OK’d for Surrey

Developer Charan Sethi is building 56 suites in Whalley, with one as small as 290 square feet.

The smallest condos in the country will soon be coming to Central City.

Beginning at 290 square feet, the suites are the braintrust of developer Charan Sethi, of Tien Sher, which is building the units at Whalley Boulevard and Grosvenor Road.

Called Balance, Tien Sher has planned the 56-unit, four-storey building that would contain one unit of 290 sq. ft., with others ranging to 500 sq. ft. The bulk of them will be 305 sq. ft.

The suites will be 12 feet by 25 feet, with a linear kitchen and a small but complete bathroom (a three by four foot shower).

Starting price for the units will be $109,900.

“If you can afford the $6,000 down payment, and you make a salary of $17 per hour, we have a home for you,” Sethi said in a release.

Some councillors originally had concerns about the “ghettoization” of the neighbourhood, but on Monday night, the city approved Sethi’s plan.

As controller for Coast Mental Health, Surrey Coun. Tom Gill brought a unique perspective. Coast Mental Health has similar units in Vancouver, but sets as a benchmark for suites to be about 400 square feet.

Gill was surprised at how small the units were that Sethi was proposing.

“I had some concerns, is it too small or not?” Gill said Tuesday. But with an eye on affordability and some of the younger lifestyles, Gill found himself in favour of the project.

He said full credit goes to Sethi for showing some vision.

“Hats off to him, I think he’s gone into a neighbourhood probably 10 years early in terms of redevelopment,” Gill said. “He has that combination of risk tolerance and visioning that he thinks he’s got a successful project.”

Sethi said he’s tired of hearing people complain about affordable housing and doing nothing about it.

This project, he says, is what affordable housing will look like.

@diakiw

Surrey North Delta Leader

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