10/22/2012 03:19 EDT | Updated 12/22/2012 05:12 EST

Fire-ravaged building to become social housing

A burnt-out apartment tower in Prince George, B.C., will become social housing.

Victoria Towers on 20th Avenue went up in flames on Nov. 3, 2011, after a fire began on the fifth floor of the 12-storey building.

The building provided rare affordable housing for close to 100 people, says Prince George-Valemount MLA, Shirley Bond.

“Everyone wants to have an affordable place to call home. Sometimes that can be difficult to do. This purchase will add 93 new affordable apartments ensuring safe and affordable housing options for families and individuals who need them most," said Bond in a written release.

Victoria Towers in poor shape before fire

The B.C. government bought the building for $7.8 million — almost $2 million below the listing price. It will spend another $3.2 million on much-needed renovations.

The building was was in poor condition when the fire broke out says Prince George Coun. Murry Krause.

"The tenants were living in really undesirable circumstances," said Krause.

"Cupboards falling off the walls to leaking toilets to all those sort of things — so it really was in a terrible state."

The province says the renovations should be complete in March 2013, and people will be able to move in after that.