Major Kelowna residential project unveiled

Busy Baron-Dilworth intersection adjacent to new residential/commercial project

The first phase of a major redevelopment on the former Central Okanagan School District administration site will be presented to city council on Monday.

The company behind the development, 1940 Underhill Developments Corp., has proposed construction of three six-storey wood-framed buildings located on the southern portion of the lot, which sits adjacent to the summer set-up of the Kelowna Farmers’ Market.

The proposal includes a 2,300 square-foot commercial retail component in one of the buildings, which will house a total of 297 rental units.

No plans are submitted for the second phase of the project, but the developer publicly discussed plans in March 2018 of building two high-rise towers, 24 and 27 storeys in height, for the site.

The land has sat vacant since the school district sold the site, part of the deal being that the new administration offices would be built by the developer on Hollywood Rd.

The former administration office has since sat vacant, but the short-term plan is for that building to serve as a marketing and sales office for the phase 2 aspect of the project.

READ MORE: Two towers proposed for Kelowna site

READ MORE: School district offices move to Rutland

READ MORE: School district admin office behind schedule

The proposal requires Official Community Plan designation changes — from multiple unit residential and education institutional to mixed use residential/commercial — and a zoning change from education and minor institutional (P2) to urban centre commercial (C4).

The development property is bordered by Baron Road on the north side, Dilworth Drive on the west side, Underhill Street on the east side and Haynes Road on the south side.

While in the planning stages for months, the plan comes on the heels of Costco pitching a land acquisition proposal to relocate their store and create a gas bar along the Baron corridor between Durnin Road extending east to Leckie Road.

The higher density development necessitated a traffic impact study done in cooperation between the developer, city engineering staff and ministry of transportation staff.

The recommended outcomes of that traffic study were to add an eastbound right-turn lane on Highway 97 at Dilworth Drive, identified as one of the most congested intersections already along Highway 97; transit improvements and new bus stops; northbound right hand turn arrow at Springfield and Dilworth intersection; lane reconfiguration and install northbound right-turn lane at Baron and Dilworth intersection; and install full signalization, including left-hand turn lanes for northbound and southbound traffic and pedestrian signals for the Baron-Underhill intersection.

“As with most applications for large developments, the current and future congestion of our Highway 97 corridor is of great concern when reviewing any additional impacts. Any additional traffic, we know will lead to greater congestion and delays,” said a city planning staff report to council.

“The improvements recommended on the city intersections may help in dissipating some impacts to minstry intersectios; however, it is clear additional capacity is also required at those ministry intersections as well.”

Council will review the initial OCP and rezoning amendments at the Monday afternoon meeting.

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