An artist rendition of the planned Westcorp hotel, as seen Water Street. (contributed)

More tweaks to Kelowna’s planned Westcorp Hotel

But still not construction date for long-awaited downtown hotel/condominium tower

Kelowna’s long-awaited lakefront hotel, planned for the foot of Queensway adjacent to Kerry Park, will be slightly shorter than originally planned, have more hotel rooms and condominiums and see an increase to both the mount of parking included and the gross floor space.

But the date for the start of construction of the oft-delayed 33-storey hotel, to be built by Alberta-based developer Westcorp and operated by an as-of-yet unknown operator, is still not known.

READ MORE: Revamped downtown Kelowna hotel plan revealed

On Friday (Nov. 29) afternoon, Westcorp issued a news release saying the latest tweaks to the hotel’s plan call for the number of hotel rooms to increase to 185 from 174, the number of condominiums to jump to between 50 and 60 from between 50 and 58 (depending on market demand for unit size) and the number of parking stalls be 331, up from the original 295.

“Westcorp’s pre-construction work in 2019 has presented some opportunities for us to make the project better, from both design and operational perspectives,” said Gail Temple, Westcorp’s vice-president of operations.

“While these changes will not affect the look of the building in a significant way, they do require the approval of council, and we will be submitting these revisions to the city this afternoon.”

She added it is the company’s hope city council will be pleased with the changes, and Westcorp looks forward to moving on to the sale of the residential units in the spring as planned.

READ MORE: Construction to start on new Kelowna high-rise hotel before the end of 2019

To do that the company plan to open what it now calls a “hotel exhibition gallery,” complete with a full-sized concept hotel room, on Bernard Avenue.

In November 2018, Westcorp officials said they planed to open the sales centre in the spring of 2019 and start construction before the end the year.

The project, featuring an elliptical-shaped tower, has been delayed several times and has already under gone a major redesign.

The hotel exhibition gallery, slated for 327 Bernard Ave., will be the sales centre for the condominiums to be included in the tower — units the company has said are critical to the financial viability of the project.

READ MORE: Construction of planned new downtown Kelowna hotel put on hold

The province’s controversial Speculation Tax, on property owned by out-of-province residents and B.C. residents who own more than one home that is not rented out long-term, is believed to have played a part in slowing plans for the hotel project.

According to the new release issued Friday, the gross floor area of the development will increase to 36,013 square-metres, up from 34,680 square-metres, with the additional hotel rooms to be located on what were to be floors four and five of the above ground parkade.

While the building will still have 33 storeys, it will be 4.47 metres shorter than originally planed at 126.22 metres instead of 130.79 metres.

The podium structure the tower will sit on will also be shorter than originally planned at 25.38 metres high instead of 26.78 metres.

The podium will also be setback, reduced from 4.23 to 2.78 metres.

No date has been set for when council will deal with the changes to the plan.

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