BOOM TOWNS: All the new housing on the horizon in Okanagan, Kamloops
While interest rate hikes have slowed the real estate boom in the Thompson-Okanagan in recent weeks, the demand for new housing remains very strong as the region continues to grow at a faster rate than the rest of the province and the country.
Some estimates show the need for 100,000 new homes in the region by the end of the decade, which will require the rate of construction to triple its current pace.
There are dozens of developments throughout the region that are already under construction, approved or in the pipeline. There are others that are still quite speculative at this time.
From the City Gardens highrises in Kamloops to the North Wiltse Block single-family subdivision in Penticton, here are some of the growth areas in the region.
City Gardens is the first real move into highrise development in Kamloops with two towers and four six-storey buildings.
The first tower, Trillium, is 24 storeys and more than half of its 150 units sold out on the first day it went on market. In all, the project will have 525 units.
Brendan Shaw, owner of Brendan Shaw Real Estate, sold all 40 units in the Rockcliffe development in Kamloops in a single day in 2021.
He’s finding a different type of buyer interested in the City Gardens units he’s marketing.
“Rockcliffe, when we sold it, there was a larger percentage of purchasers there who were investors,” he told iNFOnews.ca. “Whereas, in City Gardens so far, we’re seeing that number cut down more than half of what it was. We’re seeing more interest in these developments from an owner occupier standpoint.”
Later this year, Shaw will be marketing the 64-unit Thompson Landing waterfront project on the North Shore. Its development permit is going to Kamloops city council on Tuesday, July 19.
The 104-unit Pacific Pointe, above Aberdeen Mall, is 50% sold, Shaw said.
The 31-unit third phase of Summit Pointe is on the market and the 42 units at Fairway 10 on The Dunes golf course are 75% sold, Shaw said.
Further down the road is another potential highrise in downtown Kamloops.
Recently put on the market is the 600 block of Seymour Avenue that is listed by Colliers International. It’s a 10-lot land assembly covering 1.24 acres in the Central Business District which allows for mixed commercial and residential use, including highrises.
To the west of the city is the Tobiano golf course master planned community that is slowly taking off but has huge potential, Shaw said.
While it’s not up to the level of Vernon’s Predator Ridge, it’s a much younger development with lots of room to grow. It has the benefits of being on Kamloops Lake and has the Bruker Marina so local residents are picking up on the golf course living lifestyle.
Port Okanagan is expected to be a major game changer in Vernon.
“It’s going to be a landmark development in Vernon in the waterfront area,” Roy Nuriel, the City of Vernon’s economic development planner, told iNFOnews.ca. “For years we’ve been waiting for some new development along the waterfront area to create more of a residential, commercial tourist area for the North Okanagan.”
The project is still in the design phase but is expected to include a hotel up to 10 storeys tall with 150 rooms and a convention centre. It will be flanked by numerous other commercial and residential buildings with hundreds of units in buildings up to six storeys tall.
The full build-out is not yet determined as it’s still in the planning stage but it’s expected to trigger more redevelopment of the area on the west arm of Okanagan Lake near Kin Beach.
The City has been buying waterfront property there over the years to create parks and this 16-acre site is expected to be 45% parks and open space with trails and beach access.
“We feel that the wave is coming,” John Perrott, manager of economic development and tourism for the city, said. “People are looking at the Armstrong, Enderby, Spallumcheen, Lumby, Coldstream areas as well, for a couple of reasons.
"We’re seeing the availability of industrial land at affordable prices. Our housing prices are a little bit lower than the Central Okanagan which means it’s better for staff attraction, retention and home ownership. There’s a quality of life that’s still very high but a little bit more affordable. We’re starting to see people connect all those dots together.”
Markus Frind has just bought 400 acres near The Rise golf course in order to develop his third winery in the Valley, Perrott said.
“He will lead the charge as we’ll start to see more wineries,” he said, noting that Frind’s research shows some hillsides in the Vernon area are getting similar days of heat as Osoyoos.
There are a number of industrial sites being developed in and near the city, which bodes well for employment and Okanagan College is building 100 student housing units.
There’s also the development potential in and around the downtown commercial area, although Vernon residents are not keen on seeing their city become a highrise centre as downtown Kelowna is fast becoming.
“I think they (developers) see the potential and the building blocks that are there for residential,” Perrott said. “We’ve got some fairly large assembled land properties. It’s just trying to get the right and first project.”
The other huge development area, still within Vernon city limits, is Predator Ridge golf resort.
At this point it’s mostly single-family homes but a new phase (Outlook) that’s going to market soon is expected to see it shift to more multi-family.
In 2023, the Conservation Estates will offer 32 “estate-style” lots over 76 acres.
There’s the potential there for about 2,400 homes with about 800 already built. Plans also call for a village centre with more commercial amenities.
While the entire Central Okanagan regional district is classified as the Kelowna “census metropolitan area” by Statistics Canada, the City of Kelowna on its own is a real estate powerhouse in the region.
Last year, the city issued more than $1 billion in building permits by the end of October.
Right now, what’s to become the city’s tallest building at 42 storeys, The Eli, is one of two highrises currently under construction in the three-tower Water Street by the Park development in downtown Kelowna.
Not far away, the Mission Group has the last two of its three-tower Bernard Block project under construction.
Not yet having shovels in the ground but expected to be going ahead, starting next year, is a 45-storey UBC Okanagan "vertical campus" tower only a block away. The Mission Group has plans to build two towers of its own on that site as well.
Across the street, Kerkoff Construction – which built One Water Street, Kelowna’s tallest highrise at the moment at 35 storeys – is seeking approval for another tower, possibly at 35-storeys tall as well.
In fact, there are more than 500 storeys of highrises in downtown Kelowna that are under construction, approved or in the works. That’s even after city council turned down what was originally a 46-storey proposal for land next to the Bernard Block.
That’s just in downtown Kelowna.
In the South Pandosy/Mission area there is Movala where the first phase has sold out and the Skywater tower is now on the market.
A little further to the south, Aqua will have three towers of 13, 15 and 17 storeys just south of the Cook Street boat launch. It’s on 6.25 acres and will have 319 homes.
Not far away is the 1,100-unit Hiawatha rental development with towers ranging up to 17 storeys.
While highrises get a lot of attention and the City of Kelowna is refusing to allow new single-family subdivisions to be developed in outlying areas, there may still be as many as 5,000 single-family lots that can be developed over the next few years, Ryan Smith, the city’s community planning department manager told iNFOnews.ca.
That includes the McKinley Landing area, Wilden, Black Mountain, Tower Ranch and The Ponds in the Kettle Valley area.
Technically not in Kelowna but just across Okanagan Lake, the latest phase of the 200-unit Ariva waterfront “planned community” is on the market.
An application for rezoning 12.5 acres of land for a five building, 490-unit apartment complex in the Shannon Lake neighbourhood is heading to West Kelowna’s Advisory Planning Commission, Wednesday, July 20.
The big single-family areas in West Kelowna are Smith Creek and Goat's Peak which, together, have the potential for more than 1,800 homes.
While not the region’s largest communities, they lie on the waterfront on the west side of Okanagan Lake with some potentially huge development projects.
New Monaco is 125 acres just south of the junction of Highway 97 and the Okanagan Connector.
On the drawing board for years, there have been some more recent signs of life for a commercial/educational/residential development that could double Peachland’s population with as many as 2,800 homes.
In Summerland, the Greata Ranch and Butler family lands are on the market with the intent of selling them as one 74-acre development site bordering on the Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards at Greata Ranch.
Preliminary plans show the potential for two marinas on Okanagan Lake, towers up to eight storeys with hundreds of units.
It’s identified as a “designated growth area” by Summerland, Colliers realtor Stephen Webber, who has the listing, told iNFOnews.
That means the city has an interest in extending services the seven kilometres to the property but it also seems to want it developed as a master planned community, he said.
One source contacted for this story described Penticton and the South Okanagan as “sleepy” compared to the rest of the valley.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t development and re-development going on with projects like the third highrise at Skaha Lake Towers with 14-storeys and 88 units, along with a number of smaller condo/apartment projects like Riverside where 35 townhomes sold out quickly.
The big development on the horizon for that city is the North Wiltse Block development on the east side of the city with the potential for 686 housing units.
That property is listed by HM Commercial Group at $27,000. Their website shows a pending sale for what is billed as the “largest remaining family subdivision” left in the city.
— This story was updated at 10:20 a.m. July 18, 2022, to clarify the status of highrises near the proposed downtown UBCO campus in Kelowna.
- This story was updated at 8 a.m. on July 30 2022 to clarify the sales status of the Movala development.
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