New 12-storey tower planned for Ramada Hotel in Kelowna

The structure will be the first of its kind in Kelowna if approved by the city

Another 12-storey tower is planned for the skyline of Kelowna.

This one is set to be built as an additional tower to the Ramada Hotel on Harvey Avenue.

The hotel plans to build the 12-storey wood tower on the south-east corner lot of the property, creating an 80-room addition to the Ramada. If approved by the City of Kelowna, construction on the new addition could begin as early as the summer, with a completion date between 2021 to 2022.

David Prystay, manger of operations at the Ramada Hotel, said the mass timber construction is very unique.

“This will be the first (tower) of this size and quality built anywhere. It’s going to be a stunning building heading both north and south on Harvey,” said Prystay.

In September, The City of Kelowna signed on to become early adopters to bring mass timber technology for the construction of new buildings that may rise as high as 12-storeys tall.

With the help of the University of British Columbia, the new timber tech allows for taller wood buildings that are faster to build and could be better overall for future construction projects in the province.

The 12-storey addition is expected to have a significant impact on the local economy, creating 40 construction jobs as well as housekeepers, desk staff, security staff, maintenance staff and other positions.

Just two years ago, the Penticton Lake Side Resort built a six-story tower, similar to what will be built in Kelowna. The structure has been well received.

“It’s an amazing building,” said Prystay. “It won awards all around the country and has had visitors from all around the world to check it out the technology.”

Due to the innovative nature of the construction, Ramada hired a consultant to have the Canadian code and the B.C. code changed so that it could be allowed.

“Our elevator shaft is wood, which is unheard of,” said Prystay. “Our fire escape is also made of wood. The cool thing about the wood building is that it holds carbon in its footprint. It’s a very green technology.”

The City of Kelowna said it is very optimistic about the new structure and while the proposal has yet to be brought before council, staff with the development department descried the proposal as innovative.

“The mission of the City of Kelowna is to become the best mid-sized city in North America,” said Mo Bayat, director of development service department with the City of Kelowna. “This is a great opportunity for the development department because now we have another option for innovation.”

The cross-laminated timbre used for the building allows builders to construct a lot of it on site, making it faster to assemble and reducing the impact in the neighbourhood from concrete trucks.

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