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‘Five long years’: Kelowna council moves heritage project forward

Several councillors expressed their desire to see a long stalled development at a downtown heritage site move forward at a June 18 public hearing.
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Conceptual rendering of a four-storey residential-commercial building planned by Mark Anthony Group for the corner of Water Street and Lawrence Avenue.

Several councillors expressed their desire to see a long-stalled development at a downtown heritage site move forward at a June 18 public hearing.

Mark Anthony Group was before council with the latest version of its project for the corner of Water Street and Lawrence Avenue, a four-storey residential-commercial building.

It’s a site The Daily Courier newspaper used to call home and the heritage brick facade of the building still stands, supported by scaffolding.

Mark Anthony Group representative, Slava Korshunov, told council restoration and preservation of the facade are central to the project.

“Ensuring it remains a cornerstone of the neighbourhood’s historical charm.”

The site has been sitting idle for the better part of five years as plans for a wine interpretive centre, and then a 12-storey hotel fell through. 

Mayor Tom Dyas asked “why the change of direction and the rush” to complete the project.

“We’re a good neighbour and we want to clean up that site,” Korshunov answered.

He added there were several reasons why the hotel and interpretive centre could not be realized, including agreements that fell through with neighbours and provincial liquor license restrictions.

“It has created a situation where a crane has been parked in the middle of our streets for a number of years now,” Dyas said. “We appreciate you being a good neighbour, but it’s been a long five years.”

Councillor Rick Webber agreed.

“Waiting five years in that mess and to come out with this result is disappointing.”

Coun. Charlie Hodge pointed out that the current proposal is an improvement from what is currently on the site.

“It has a green look and enhances and keeps the historical venue to it. Hopefully, this is a win-win situation quickly.’

Apartments in the building would be for sale or a minimum one-year lease.

Council gave second and third bylaw readings that will allow the project to be built to four storeys and 20 metres.

 



Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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