Dundas Lions Club seniors housing sold for $2.7 million

News Oct 09, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Dundas Lions Club sold its 59-year-old non-profit seniors rental housing building Oct. 6 to a private real estate investment company for $2.7 million.

The deal with Proformance Investments GP Inc. and its president, Derek Conorton, for the 10-unit building at 50 Creighton Rd. has been in the works for at least nine months but was delayed several times by multiple issues — including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conorton, also co-owner of The Dream Centre, a dance, gymnastics and martial arts school at 70 Innovation Dr. in Waterdown, could not be reached for comment by deadline.

But Conorton posted photos on Facebook of the 50 Creighton Rd. property more than two months before the sale closed. On Aug. 2, he stated in the post: “One of my recent investment purchases. 10-unit building in Dundas area on 1-hectare of land. Surrounded by beautiful 100-ft trees, Spencer Creek flowing through one end of the property and a 5 minute walk to downtown.”

In the 1930s, Dundas Lions Club bought several properties around the intersection of Creighton Road and Mill Street on which there were several significant developments over several decades.

The club built an outdoor swimming pool in 1938 — now the site of Dundas Little Theatre’s Garstin Centre for the Arts. It donated land to the Town of Dundas for what would become J.L. Grightmire Arena.

From 1958 to June 1961, the Lions Club planned and built affordable seniors housing on the Creighton Road property, across from the arena, theatre and indoor pool.

The 10-unit building was supported with a $5,000 grant from the Ontario government, and a $59,557 loan from the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation. That loan was repaid by July 2006.

All the apartments are one-bedroom units and were available to low-income seniors 60 and older. The rent in 1961 was $49.50 a month. The building apparently had a multi-year waiting list.

The Lions Club got a second CMHC loan in March, 1982 of $23,311 for repair and rehabilitation of the building, with an annual interest rate of 11.25 per cent. That second mortgage was repaid before the end of 1989.

Maintaining and operating a non-profit housing development became more of a challenge in recent years for the service group.

The City of Hamilton stopped providing property tax reductions for the seniors apartments in 2011 and began charging the club full annual taxes in 2012.

By 2018, the property tax was $24,381.19. In 2019, the property tax was $23,036.97. Property tax for 2020 is $22,135.40.

Lions Club members Richard Dix and Brian Watson, who served as treasurer and president of the housing operation, were cautious about sharing details leading up to the property sale. They worried community members would be critical of the sale.

“The club is very important to both of us,” Dix said.

A month before the deal finally closed, Dix and Watson both said the upcoming sale would benefit the community.

“We can help a lot of people,” Watson said, on Sept. 2.

They wouldn’t say how much the club was charging in rent, noting “affordable” is a relative term and rents changed over the years as times and circumstances changed.

Dix and Watson agreed the Dundas Lions Club is not suited to be a landlord.

The club was challenged to find funding and other resources to maintain and repair the facility. They said a 2017 project that included replacing the boiler and the roof, and other repairs, drained a lot of the club’s funds.

“We’re not landlords — we’re a service club,” Dix said. “We did it for 60 years.”

Despite all that, they said it was difficult decision to sell.

Watson said they did not solicit offers. The buyer came to them. After that, there were discussions among club members and plenty of debate before moving forward.

“It wasn’t done overnight,” Dix said. “It was a tough decision.”

David Hulchanski, a social work professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in community planning and housing, said the federal government funded public and non-profit housing projects, like the Dundas Lions seniors housing, for families and seniors from the 1950s to 1975.

He noted a non-profit would get CMHC financing at a reduced rate with the Ontario government occasionally adding subsidies — as it did in this case.

“The building exists because of public subsidies and because of residents paying rents through the years, paying off the mortgage,” Hulchanski said. “In my view, given all the public subsidies, and the fact the Lions Club I assume is itself a not-for-profit, the building — if it is fit — should continue as a non-profit.”

He said if the building is beyond its useful life, the land should be provided to a non-profit that would build new non-profit housing on the site.

“If it is sold to the private sector it joins the inflationary market rental spiral — owners wanting the highest possible rents or selling the land for a profit when the time is right,” Hulchanski said.

According to a CMHC survey of affordable housing across Canada, the average national rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $495 a month.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We heard in January 2020 of negotiations for a potential sale of the Dundas Lions Club non-profit seniors housing at 50 Creighton Rd. and have followed its progress through several delays.




Dundas Lions Club seniors housing sold for $2.7 million

Creighton Road non-profit facility opened in 1961

News Oct 09, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Dundas Lions Club sold its 59-year-old non-profit seniors rental housing building Oct. 6 to a private real estate investment company for $2.7 million.

The deal with Proformance Investments GP Inc. and its president, Derek Conorton, for the 10-unit building at 50 Creighton Rd. has been in the works for at least nine months but was delayed several times by multiple issues — including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conorton, also co-owner of The Dream Centre, a dance, gymnastics and martial arts school at 70 Innovation Dr. in Waterdown, could not be reached for comment by deadline.

But Conorton posted photos on Facebook of the 50 Creighton Rd. property more than two months before the sale closed. On Aug. 2, he stated in the post: “One of my recent investment purchases. 10-unit building in Dundas area on 1-hectare of land. Surrounded by beautiful 100-ft trees, Spencer Creek flowing through one end of the property and a 5 minute walk to downtown.”

Related Content

In the 1930s, Dundas Lions Club bought several properties around the intersection of Creighton Road and Mill Street on which there were several significant developments over several decades.

The club built an outdoor swimming pool in 1938 — now the site of Dundas Little Theatre’s Garstin Centre for the Arts. It donated land to the Town of Dundas for what would become J.L. Grightmire Arena.

From 1958 to June 1961, the Lions Club planned and built affordable seniors housing on the Creighton Road property, across from the arena, theatre and indoor pool.

The 10-unit building was supported with a $5,000 grant from the Ontario government, and a $59,557 loan from the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation. That loan was repaid by July 2006.

All the apartments are one-bedroom units and were available to low-income seniors 60 and older. The rent in 1961 was $49.50 a month. The building apparently had a multi-year waiting list.

The Lions Club got a second CMHC loan in March, 1982 of $23,311 for repair and rehabilitation of the building, with an annual interest rate of 11.25 per cent. That second mortgage was repaid before the end of 1989.

Maintaining and operating a non-profit housing development became more of a challenge in recent years for the service group.

The City of Hamilton stopped providing property tax reductions for the seniors apartments in 2011 and began charging the club full annual taxes in 2012.

By 2018, the property tax was $24,381.19. In 2019, the property tax was $23,036.97. Property tax for 2020 is $22,135.40.

Lions Club members Richard Dix and Brian Watson, who served as treasurer and president of the housing operation, were cautious about sharing details leading up to the property sale. They worried community members would be critical of the sale.

“The club is very important to both of us,” Dix said.

A month before the deal finally closed, Dix and Watson both said the upcoming sale would benefit the community.

“We can help a lot of people,” Watson said, on Sept. 2.

They wouldn’t say how much the club was charging in rent, noting “affordable” is a relative term and rents changed over the years as times and circumstances changed.

Dix and Watson agreed the Dundas Lions Club is not suited to be a landlord.

The club was challenged to find funding and other resources to maintain and repair the facility. They said a 2017 project that included replacing the boiler and the roof, and other repairs, drained a lot of the club’s funds.

“We’re not landlords — we’re a service club,” Dix said. “We did it for 60 years.”

Despite all that, they said it was difficult decision to sell.

Watson said they did not solicit offers. The buyer came to them. After that, there were discussions among club members and plenty of debate before moving forward.

“It wasn’t done overnight,” Dix said. “It was a tough decision.”

David Hulchanski, a social work professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in community planning and housing, said the federal government funded public and non-profit housing projects, like the Dundas Lions seniors housing, for families and seniors from the 1950s to 1975.

He noted a non-profit would get CMHC financing at a reduced rate with the Ontario government occasionally adding subsidies — as it did in this case.

“The building exists because of public subsidies and because of residents paying rents through the years, paying off the mortgage,” Hulchanski said. “In my view, given all the public subsidies, and the fact the Lions Club I assume is itself a not-for-profit, the building — if it is fit — should continue as a non-profit.”

He said if the building is beyond its useful life, the land should be provided to a non-profit that would build new non-profit housing on the site.

“If it is sold to the private sector it joins the inflationary market rental spiral — owners wanting the highest possible rents or selling the land for a profit when the time is right,” Hulchanski said.

According to a CMHC survey of affordable housing across Canada, the average national rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $495 a month.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We heard in January 2020 of negotiations for a potential sale of the Dundas Lions Club non-profit seniors housing at 50 Creighton Rd. and have followed its progress through several delays.




Dundas Lions Club seniors housing sold for $2.7 million

Creighton Road non-profit facility opened in 1961

News Oct 09, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Dundas Lions Club sold its 59-year-old non-profit seniors rental housing building Oct. 6 to a private real estate investment company for $2.7 million.

The deal with Proformance Investments GP Inc. and its president, Derek Conorton, for the 10-unit building at 50 Creighton Rd. has been in the works for at least nine months but was delayed several times by multiple issues — including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conorton, also co-owner of The Dream Centre, a dance, gymnastics and martial arts school at 70 Innovation Dr. in Waterdown, could not be reached for comment by deadline.

But Conorton posted photos on Facebook of the 50 Creighton Rd. property more than two months before the sale closed. On Aug. 2, he stated in the post: “One of my recent investment purchases. 10-unit building in Dundas area on 1-hectare of land. Surrounded by beautiful 100-ft trees, Spencer Creek flowing through one end of the property and a 5 minute walk to downtown.”

Related Content

In the 1930s, Dundas Lions Club bought several properties around the intersection of Creighton Road and Mill Street on which there were several significant developments over several decades.

The club built an outdoor swimming pool in 1938 — now the site of Dundas Little Theatre’s Garstin Centre for the Arts. It donated land to the Town of Dundas for what would become J.L. Grightmire Arena.

From 1958 to June 1961, the Lions Club planned and built affordable seniors housing on the Creighton Road property, across from the arena, theatre and indoor pool.

The 10-unit building was supported with a $5,000 grant from the Ontario government, and a $59,557 loan from the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation. That loan was repaid by July 2006.

All the apartments are one-bedroom units and were available to low-income seniors 60 and older. The rent in 1961 was $49.50 a month. The building apparently had a multi-year waiting list.

The Lions Club got a second CMHC loan in March, 1982 of $23,311 for repair and rehabilitation of the building, with an annual interest rate of 11.25 per cent. That second mortgage was repaid before the end of 1989.

Maintaining and operating a non-profit housing development became more of a challenge in recent years for the service group.

The City of Hamilton stopped providing property tax reductions for the seniors apartments in 2011 and began charging the club full annual taxes in 2012.

By 2018, the property tax was $24,381.19. In 2019, the property tax was $23,036.97. Property tax for 2020 is $22,135.40.

Lions Club members Richard Dix and Brian Watson, who served as treasurer and president of the housing operation, were cautious about sharing details leading up to the property sale. They worried community members would be critical of the sale.

“The club is very important to both of us,” Dix said.

A month before the deal finally closed, Dix and Watson both said the upcoming sale would benefit the community.

“We can help a lot of people,” Watson said, on Sept. 2.

They wouldn’t say how much the club was charging in rent, noting “affordable” is a relative term and rents changed over the years as times and circumstances changed.

Dix and Watson agreed the Dundas Lions Club is not suited to be a landlord.

The club was challenged to find funding and other resources to maintain and repair the facility. They said a 2017 project that included replacing the boiler and the roof, and other repairs, drained a lot of the club’s funds.

“We’re not landlords — we’re a service club,” Dix said. “We did it for 60 years.”

Despite all that, they said it was difficult decision to sell.

Watson said they did not solicit offers. The buyer came to them. After that, there were discussions among club members and plenty of debate before moving forward.

“It wasn’t done overnight,” Dix said. “It was a tough decision.”

David Hulchanski, a social work professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in community planning and housing, said the federal government funded public and non-profit housing projects, like the Dundas Lions seniors housing, for families and seniors from the 1950s to 1975.

He noted a non-profit would get CMHC financing at a reduced rate with the Ontario government occasionally adding subsidies — as it did in this case.

“The building exists because of public subsidies and because of residents paying rents through the years, paying off the mortgage,” Hulchanski said. “In my view, given all the public subsidies, and the fact the Lions Club I assume is itself a not-for-profit, the building — if it is fit — should continue as a non-profit.”

He said if the building is beyond its useful life, the land should be provided to a non-profit that would build new non-profit housing on the site.

“If it is sold to the private sector it joins the inflationary market rental spiral — owners wanting the highest possible rents or selling the land for a profit when the time is right,” Hulchanski said.

According to a CMHC survey of affordable housing across Canada, the average national rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $495 a month.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We heard in January 2020 of negotiations for a potential sale of the Dundas Lions Club non-profit seniors housing at 50 Creighton Rd. and have followed its progress through several delays.