Construction is a familiar sight in Kelowna but there are more building projects on the go than ever before in the central Okanagan city.
“We are having, from a planning perspective in our department, higher than average levels, higher than 2007 levels of development applications and that was our biggest year ever,” City of Kelowna community planning manager Ryan Smith said.
There is a variety of developments currently in the works. Among the bigger projects are four hotels. Two of them, the Marriott and Holiday Inn, are slated for the corner of Highways 97 and 33. A six-storey, 161 room hotel is also proposed for a lot at Spall Road and Enterprise Way and another hotel is being planned next to the Four Points by Sheraton hotel across from the airport.
“We are really growing right now,” Smith said.
Two more high-rise projects are making their way through the approval process. Both are proposed for the downtown’s north end. One is a 14-storey condominium building behind Prospera place on the corner of Ellis Street and Clement Avenue. The other high-rise project is right across the street where two towers, each more than 20-storeys, are being planned.
The building upswing also has many out-of-town developers building in Kelowna. Garry Fawley of PC Urban Properties Corp. is one of them.
“We just like the growth and energy in town,” Fawley said. “We think Kelowna will grow dramatically.”
The Vancouver-based developer has just purchased eight acres of land at the corner of Dilworth Drive and Enterprise Way, where he plans to build a stratified industrial business park that will accommodate up to 60 businesses.
The building projects are translating into some big dollars for the city with a record $530-million in building permit values in 2016.
“I think Kelowna is one of those places, just the lifestyle attracts people from out of town, whether you are a developer or a potential buyer,” Smith said.
With no end in sight to development inquiries pouring in, the building trend is expected to carry on for the foreseeable future.