Kelowna City Council approves 25-story building on Doyle Avenue

Development permits have been issued for a 25-storey mixed-use building project on Doyle Avenue.

On Tuesday, Kelowna City Council voted 6 to 2 in favor of issuing permits. Councilors Charlie Hodge and Mohini Singh opposed it.

The building, which is proposed for the former RCMP site, caused quite a stir when new design plans showed a slimmer and taller building with 25 stories and 259 residential units.

The original building was to be 13 stories tall with 316 residential units.

Much of the controversy surrounding the project had to do with the process. The City of Kelowna has issued a request for proposals for a building of up to 13 stories, which is set out in the city’s civic district plan.

Building plans eventually doubled in size but lost nearly 60 residential units.

“I think this process here ticks a lot of boxes,” City Manager Doug Gilchrist said of the overall development process for this building, noting that rentals were not initially contemplated in this proposal.

“Ultimately what we recommend to the board will be something that we, as staff, believe is in the best interest of the community.”

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<p>Councilor Charlie Hodge still disagreed with the process, saying that once a new height was proposed he should have gone back to step one.  He also had issues with the height of this proposed location.</p>
<p>“This project is wonderful and I really felt inspired to support it,” Councilor Hodge said.</p>
<p>“But I can’t sleep tonight or any other night if I give the thumbs up.” </p>
<p>Councilor Hodge added that it was not fair to the other candidates bidding on the project and thought the process was not transparent enough.</p>
<p>Five development exemptions were requested: an increase in height, an increase in the size of the floor plates, a reduction in the number of bicycle parking spaces and a reduction in the minimum separation distance between adjacent buildings.</p>
<p>Although not part of the public hearing, those who felt the discrepancies affected them were invited to address the council and developers.</p>
<p>More than 20 people addressed the city council.  Some concerns have been raised regarding the planning process, the height increase, the impact on the nearby innovation center and the proximity to the lake.</p>
<p>Planning director Ryan Smith said city staff looked at several different options for the design of the building and felt the proposed 25 floors were a compromise.</p>
<p>“We realized that would be hard for some to accept.  But we believe it led to a solution that led to the best for this site and hopefully the best for the city center in the long run,” Smith said.</p>
<p><img alt= Photo credit: Appelt Properties” data-src=”https://www.kelownanow.com/files/files/images/Screen%20Shot%202022-07-27%20at%2012_31_23%20PM%20(1).png” style= “margin: 5px;”/>

The building would include 100 studios, 99 one-bedroom units and 60 two-bedroom units.

According to the promoters, the objective is to make 18% of the housing affordable rents, 15% subsidized rents and the remaining 67% would be market housing. These units would be leases of up to 10 years.

“Ultimately I think the process led us to a better building,” said Councilor Loyal Wooldridge.

“It meets the needs of different residents and we are bringing a significant number of purpose-built rentals online.”

Councilor Luke Stack agreed, saying “Any tenancy is a good tenancy. We need rentals.

Eleven students spoke in favor of the project, citing the need for student housing.

A woman reminded students that they would probably not be able to afford market rents, which make up the majority of housing. However, a number of young people argued that it would free up housing in other parts of the city.

The applicant will also provide 6,000 square feet of public space, extending the ArtWalk to Doyle Avenue while providing retail and office space.

The building would also include 1,384 square meters of commercial space on the ground floor and 1,305 square meters on the second floor.

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