July 03, 2015 - 4:30 PM
KELOWNA - It’s been 13 years since the school that once occupied the site known as Central Green closed down and now the second affordable housing project slated for the old Kelowna Secondary School grounds has began construction.
Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society and the Ministry of Housing broke ground on the $16-million project this week. The City of Kelowna is donating the land, worth $1 million, while the province has provided construction financing of $15.6 million for the 86-unit complex located at 1745 Chapman Pl.
The friendship society will manage the four-storey wood-frame building once completed, likely by next summer. There will be 32 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units. The balance will be studio apartments, some of which will be attached to the larger units for people with extended families.
This is the second affordable housing project for Central Green. Karis Support Society began construction earlier this year on a 30-unit apartment which should be complete by the fall.
What remains conspicuous by its absence is the market housing development to be constructed on five of the other parcels in the Central Green site, which is governed by a comprehensive development zone put in place by the city.
Al Stober Construction bought the five parcels from the city for a reported $6 million and is expected to begin construction of the multi-family units next year. There are three high-rises planned for the three parcels running along Harvey Avenue while low-rise condominiums will be constructed toward the centre of the development.
A sixth parcel is slated for development by the city as a park in 2017. Forty per cent of the development is dedicated to public spaces, while 15 per cent is dedicated to social housing.
Should all the contruction be completed as planned, it will mark the end of a lengthy process that began when the Central Okanagan School District decided in 2001 to shut down the aging high school and move it to a site near the current Okanagan College campus on KLO.
The city purchased what was considered prime real estate from the school district and began planning for a mixed-use development. However developers, concerned about the restrictions on construction, didn’t make any moves to purchase the property.
Then the 2008 global financial crisis knocked the wind out of the local real estate market and the site sat vacant for six more years.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015