This proposal would be considered a significant redevelopment even if it were slated for a site in downtown Vancouver — but it is actually proposed for downtown Kelowna.
A newly submitted development permit application to the City of Kelowna outlines plans for a “big city” redevelopment project at the sites of 234-278 Leon Avenue and 1620-1630 Water Street — the northwest and southwest corners of the intersection of Leon Avenue and Water Street.
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Currently, the sites — just east of Kelowna City Park and the Okanagan Lake waterfront — are occupied by a mix of low-storey commercial buildings.
The mixed-use redevelopment is spearheaded by North Vancouver-based Venue Kings Ticket Brokers and designed by HDR Architecture Associates.
The proposal calls for three towers reaching 42 storeys, 30 storeys, and 24 storeys, with the tallest towers containing 600 market residential units and the shortest tower providing 216 hotel suites. The tallest tower reaches a height of 435 ft, which is approximately 183 ft taller than what is permitted by existing zoning.
All three towers also include a multi-level podium with 45,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space, and the most of the provided vehicle parking.
A new mass timber pedestrian bridge hovers above Leon Avenue to connect both development sites and create joint access to parking. Two large digital display boards are also proposed for the facades of the podiums.
Both sites have a combined total of 748 vehicle parking stalls, representing a 239-stall shortfall over city requirements, with one parking level underground on the north site and the remaining parking levels above ground. Double-height commercial spaces and a gently curving mass timber and polycarbonate external screens conceal the parking structure.
Strategic components and locations of the development will utilize wood given its green design elements, including the canopy at street level to provide protection from the elements.
“Towers A and B are oriented East West with a slight v-shaped deck articulation to accentuate the slender form as seen from Harvey Avenue. The translucent glass guards on the tower balconies provide a sculptural aesthetic while minimizing the visual impact of ones possessions,” reads the application.
“This proposal will be a positive contribution to our community by allowing more housing and commercial opportunities and allowing densification in an area which is within the downtown core and its associated amenities. This project is in close proximity to bike and walking trails and a viable alternative to urban sprawl and hope for a reduction in vehicular reliance. The developer would like to work with the City of Kelowna to provide a public contribution for community benefit; to help combat the housing crisis.”
Altogether, the redevelopment will create a total floor area of about 559,000 sq. ft., giving the project a floor space ratio density of over nine times the size of the combined lot area of 61,600 sq. ft.
The proponents state the taller heights match the city’s vision for the future of this zone and the surrounding areas within downtown Kelowna.
If the project is approved as proposed, the height of the tallest tower will be just four feet shorter than Kelowna’s future tallest building — the 440-ft-tall Westcorp Waterfront Hotel, located two blocks north.
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