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Kelowna City Staff push back against 26 storey development proposal in Prospera Place parking lot

Rendering of two of the three towers proposed for the Prospera Place parking lot.
Rendering of two of the three towers proposed for the Prospera Place parking lot.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ City of Kelowna

City Staff are asking Kelowna City Council to not permit the three towers, set to be built in the Prospera Place parking lot, reach 26 storeys.

GSL, which built Kelowna’s 14-storey Ellis Parc highrise, has applied to increase the height limit of the property from 12 storeys to 26 storeys.

City Staff are opposed to the application and are recommending an early consideration process for Council to turn it away.

READ MORE: Parking at Prospera Place in Kelowna to be cut drastically if three highrises built

The applicant’s proposal for a large residential development includes three towers with building heights of 13 storeys, 22 storeys, and 26 storeys.

These buildings include 457 studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom units.

The current development proposal does not include publicly accessible parking for the arena and will eliminate 233 parking stalls. It does meet the minimum vehicle and bicycle parking, however.

If Council supports the height increase from 12 to 26 storeys, the applicant said it is willing to discuss including close to 100 parkade stalls within a floor of underground parking, which may be accessible to the public.

READ MORE: Kelowna working to balance housing needs with heritage conservation

“The subject property is an important site for Kelowna’s rapidly evolving and growing downtown,” a report to Council said. “The current proposal does not complement or positively interact with the arena, and staff are concerned about current and future impacts on the surrounding blocks, streets and Art Walk.”

City staff suggest a more suitable development would include an office tower. That way the parkade could accommodate daytime office user parking while providing evening and weekend arena user parking.

Staff also said that the proposal has multiple technical issues with zoning, site constraints and OCP policies.

Staff are concerned that the applicant is not proposing any payments to the Streetscape reserve fund or the Affordable Housing reserve fund.

READ MORE: 20 years later: How an arena helped transform downtown Kelowna

If they were, they could be paying up to $415,350 for the Streetscape fund and $914,000 to the Affordable Housing fund.

On top of this, the trees lining the road in front of Prospera Place are meant to be protected but there is no plan put forward by the applicant to save them.

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