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Historic building in downtown Kelowna about to be listed

The B.C. Tree Fruits Cooperative is going to sell its historic building on Water St. in Kelowna.
The B.C. Tree Fruits Cooperative is going to sell its historic building on Water St. in Kelowna. Travis Lowe

Kelowna’s next hot real estate listing is causing a big stir with developers.

The location: The downtown core, the B.C. Tree Fruits building at 1473 Water Street.

“It’s a very hot piece of property,” Warren Sarafinchan, CEO of the B.C. Tree Fruits Cooperative told Global News on Monday.

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The decision to list the downtown building comes after a strategic asset review.

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“Coming out of that review we decided that this particular location was no longer necessary,” Sarafinchan explained.

So the iconic building at the corner of Water Street and Queensway Avenue in Kelowna is about to go on the block.

And while 1473 Water St. has not been listed quite yet, developers are already lining up, likely because of the property’s incredible downtown location.

“I’ve been shocked and overwhelmed quite frankly at the interest we’ve had on the facility,” Sarafinchan said.

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However, developer interest has the Central Okanagan Heritage Society concerned.

“The whole downtown core of those old buildings is under threat,” said Don Knox, president of the society.

Knox is worried because the B.C. Tree Fruits Cooperative building is actually on the city’s heritage registry.

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Built in 1946, it is the city’s first example of the ‘moderne’ architecture style.

“But it doesn’t actually mean the building is protected,” Knox said.

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The property is actually zoned C7, which means a maximum height of 19 storeys.

However, any plans for the property would have to take its heritage designation into consideration.

“It would be something we would be looking to protect in some type of way during a development process,” said Ryan Smith of the City of Kelowna.

“If a developer purchased one of the first things we would say was ‘Could be both do some development and protect some heritage on the property and what does that look like?’”

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Ultimately what that would look like would be the decision of city council.