February 22, 2016 9:15 pm

New social innovation foundation buying Kelowna’s first high-rise building

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KELOWNA – The Kiwanis Tower, a 146 unit affordable housing high-rise, is being sold.

The Kiwanis community club is selling the building to a newly formed non-profit organization for an undisclosed price.

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In a note to residents, the Kelowna Foundation for Hope and Social Innovation says “In addition to serving existing residents, the Foundation’s objective for the tower includes the establishment of a social enterprise centre – to provide job training and placement – opportunities for social inclusion, spiritual nurturance and housing.”

The foundation is being spear-headed by Metro Community Church which provides services to street people at its current downtown location.

The church’s move to Kiwanis Tower is causing concern in the neighbourhood.

“I think the neighbours have raised concerns about how exactly does this all work and what impact does this have on our neighbourhood,” says City of Kelowna community planning manager Ryan Smith. “The planning department doesn’t really know the impact right now and the neighbours don’t know the impact.”

There have been complaints about the clientele hanging around Metro church in downtown Kelowna.

“Yeah that upsets me too. I don’t want to see anyone camping downtown,” says church pastor Laurence East. “I want to see people in homes, I want to see them in jobs.”

Kiwanis Tower residents have been assured they won’t be displaced by the change in the building ownership and function.

“We’ve got questions to ask,” says a resident calling herself M-J. “Just wait and see what they’ve got to offer for the residents. Might be an interesting change, we don’t know.”

Residents will find out more at two information meetings with the new foundation later this week.

It takes possession of Kiwanis Tower at the end of the year.

BC Assessment pegs the value of the building at $9.4 million.

A foundation board member says the purchase funds are coming from community-minded individuals without any government financial assistance.

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