The site of one of Penticton’s oldest and most beloved restaurants is expected to be turned into a three-storey office building.
Bogner’s of Penticton, a 46-year-old restaurant and catering business on 302 Eckhardt Avenue, was subject to development at city council’s meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
Though the building — a Tudor-style home built in 1915 — was already zoned for the use of multi-storey commercial space, the owner needed approval for a front-yard setback variance before moving ahead with development.
While there was some reluctance based on heritage, as well as the questioning over the need for local office space, council voted to approve the owner’s two planning applications by a count of 4-2. The property, which is not listed on the City of Penticton Heritage Register, will now be subject to commercial development.
“This is very difficult and one that I’ve struggled with,” said counc. Amelia Boultbee. “I know people in the community have struggled with the idea of losing such a beautiful house that is so iconic in Penticton but I am voting for this with reluctance because the zoning allows for it.”
Prior to its days as a local restaurant, the building was home to Penticton doctor Herb McGregor. It was turned into Bogner’s in 1976 and has since been serving farm-to-table cuisine.
Along with discussing the building’s historic significance, council questioned whether the three-storey office space would fit with the rest of the area. The lot is adjacent to a residential neighbourhood.
“Here’s what I’m pondering…is this an appropriate site for a three-storey office building?” asked counc. James Miller. “When we talk about our housing crisis, do we also have an office space crisis?”
Miller was joined by counc. Ryan Graham in opposing the owner’s planning requests.
City staff says they received one letter of opposition from the public about the project, with heritage, building size and neighbourhood fit among the concerns.
Now expected to be converted into commercial space, the site will feature at least 35 parking stalls. As required by the city, parking access will be from Argyle Street.
Bogner’s has scaled back operations in recent years, moving its business model closer in line with a catering and private events establishment.
According to the Local Government Act, council had the “broad authority” to protect the building based on heritage significance.
Those protections, however, would involve compensation to the property owner.
“If the city took over and designated it as a heritage site, it could entail significant costs to the taxpayer,” Boutlbee said.