485 Normandy: Habitat for Humanity GTA’s new 50-home development

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By Dave Flaherty, on behalf of Habitat for Humanity GTA

Habitat for Humanity GTA is settings its sights high for its Normandy project in Oshawa. With the CentreTowne build soon to be complete, the wheels are in motion to begin construction on 485 Normandy—50 stacked family-sized townhouses, 10 of which will be barrier-free.

Habitat GTA is working with the City of Oshawa and Durham Region to wrap up the final details, with construction set to begin in June. “We would anticipate families taking occupancy in Q4 2022,” says Jamie Payne, Development Manager for Real Estate at Habitat GTA.

The amalgamation of Habit for Humanity GTA and Habitat for Humanity Durham was finalized just over a year ago, but the project was in the works before the amalgamation. “As an organization, we are always looking for cross-sector partnerships to help deliver affordable homeownership to more families,” Payne explained.

The site was formerly home to affordable housing units run by the city, so Habitat for Humanity jumped at the chance to get their hands on the land. “It seems to be an area of high need for affordable housing. We welcome partnerships with the region to ensure the supply of affordable housing in the community,” Payne says. The City of Oshawa has identified the Normandy build as a ‘priority project,’ and Payne says the municipality has been “really good to work with.”

The previous buildings at the site were torn down earlier this year. According to Wayne Dempsey, VP of Construction and Regional General Manager, Durham. The previous affordable housing site on the land was built in the 1960s. “There were [about 60] apartments. They were one-bedrooms and bachelors,” he says, noting the buildings had fallen into “a state of disrepair.” By the mid-2010s, only two tenants remained in the apartments and it required millions of dollars of repairs. Eventually, the region approached the Durham chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and an offer was made.

Because of the condition of the buildings and the land, Payne says there was a considerable amount of site remediation and abatement that needed to be done before they could move forward.

Jaya Kanagasabai, Family Services Specialist at Habitat GTA believes there will be a great deal of interest in the Normandy project. “A lot of our partner families, they are interested in stacked townhouses and a lot of people are looking to move away from the Toronto area,” she says. The recruitment process for the first eighteen families is now underway.

There are several requirements including being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, working full-time, and falling within Habitat GTA’s ‘income bands.’ Interested parties can learn more at https://habitatgta.ca/homeownership/ or by contacting familyservices@habitatgta.com.

Donors, sponsors, and volunteers will be needed to support the Normandy build as well, according to Denise Walker, Fund Development Manager. “We are looking for community partners to join with us to provide donations needed for building materials, and to help us make meaningful change in Durham Region,”she says.

While there is still an air of uncertainty about how on-site volunteering will work due to COVID-19 restrictions, anyone interested in helping should keep checking for new details at https://habitatgta.ca/builds/normandy/ in the coming months.


At the time of this writing, the final details were being put on Normandy’s site plan agreement.