The City of Kelowna has supersized a real estate deal involving two properties on Harvey Avenue.
The combo deal is for the long-empty McDonald’s restaurant site, located at 1746 Water St., plus the former Husky gas station at 380 Harvey Ave.
Both properties are only one block east of the William R. Bennett Bridge, and, because of their positioning, are considered ‘gateway’ properties to the city.
According to the city’s manager of strategic land development, Graham Hood, the combined price for the two properties was just north of $11 million.
“I think that there can be some great synergy between the two properties,” Hood told Global News.
By co-listing the two lots, city staff are looking to inspire developer design.
“We are hopeful that the development community will come back to us with some fantastic ideas that really put a stamp on these two properties,” said Hood.
“Some great architecture, some real signature pieces that when you come across that bridge, people that you have really arrived in Kelowna.”
“We are really looking forward to them being redeveloped,” added Kelowna mayor Colin Basran. “Something, whether it be mixed-used or office or residential or commercial.”
He added, “just something that will help enhance the urban centre of our downtown.”
Both pieces of property have sat empty for years.
“I think most people would agree (the lots) have been sort of eyesores,” Basran admitted.
The controversial McDonald’s site was tied up in a protracted court case with the city when Water Street was realigned.
The restaurant claimed that the realignment caused a substantial loss of business that forced the restaurant to close.
“To finally be able to put it to market is another step forward for a property that has sat vacant way too long,” Basran said.
The city eventually completed the purchase of 1746 Water Street last year for $2 million.
Add to that the $4.15 million for the former Husky gas station site, and the city stands to earn a substantial return on its investment.
Notably, the city won’t be taking offers on the properties for three months. The city says this should give developers time to submit designs for the two properties.
Site mitigation at the McDonald’s property is expected to continue through 2022, with eventual development to follow.