Kelowna's Water Street by the Park has 10 times more interest in suites than actual suites
It wasn’t that long ago that the 200 block of Leon Avenue in downtown Kelowna was turned into a homeless tent city as people gathered around the Kelowna Gospel Mission where they could get food, charge their cell phones and, sometimes, get beds.
That was in the fall of 2019.
Now, the developer of what’s planned to be Kelowna’s biggest high-rise housing development is being flooded by inquiries and even demands to get information on how to buy units in his three proposed towers.
“When we started, I was told no one from Kelowna would want in," Anthony Beyrouti, who is developing the three-tower Water Street by the Park project, told iNFOnews.ca. "That couldn’t be further from the truth. People from Kelowna are looking. They want in. They like the amenities. They like the walkability of the downtown core so we’re finding a lot of locals want the product.
“Then you have people from Vancouver, people from Toronto. They’re even more thrilled. They see the prices of property in their city skyrocket and Kelowna has the four seasons. People come to Kelowna because they want the sun, they want the snow, they want the rain. They want the whole deal and you get that here. You don’t get that everywhere in Canada.”
Of course, this could all be a pipe dream touted by a promoter trying to sell his product.
But, already he’s transforming the corner of Water Street and Leon Avenue and plans to have a showroom – including tents for a unique outdoor sales centre – open by early June and hopes to have sales start pouring in at that time.
He’s received almost 7,000 requests for information packages on the 650 units he hopes to sell, starting at $359,900.
“The outreach from the people in the area has been through the roof,” Beyrouti said. “It was completely unexpected and completely fantastic so we’ve been very happy with the locals.”
Plans are to start building the shortest tower in January. It will be 24 storeys and will the closest of the three towers to City Park, just behind the Club Zed hotel.
If sales go well, he hopes to start on the 42-storey tower on the Water Street end of the block shortly after. It will be the tallest tower in Kelowna.
Finally, a 28-storey tower is planned on the south-east corner of Water Street and Leon Avenue. It will have an overhead bridge connecting it to the other towers and, at 727 spaces, the largest parking garage in the city.
“We wanted to transform the area and bring a lot of energy to the area so we thought it was very important to have three sites,” Beyrouti said. “That was number one. Three towers brings in a lot of density to the area and brings a lot of people to the area. We want people down here. We want people on their bikes. We want people walking around here.”
The 650 units eclipse other massive high rise projects in Kelowna.
The two towers at One Water Street, at 36 and 29 stories, have 426 units.
The Mission Group is building three towers on Bernard Avenue between St. Paul and Bertram streets. Those total 435 residential units in the 34-storey Bertram and 26-storey Brooklyn towers. The third tower, The Block, is for offices.
Beyrouti’s project will have the Kelowna Gospel Mission homeless shelter directly across Leon Avenue while the Cornerstone shelter is two blocks up the street so there’s likely to still be homeless people hanging around the area. But, a recent visit shows scant evidence of street people after the city moved them out in the fall of 2019.
“This will totally transform the area and it will bring a nice vibe to people who live down here and they’ll want to move down here,” Beyrouti said. “We can’t wait. We’re so excited and, the best news is, people share the excitement with us. People are thrilled to be down here.”
There’s also been a strong and unexpected interest in the commercial spaces that will line the street.
“One of things people have got to start realizing is that Kelowna is not a little city anymore,” Beyrouti said. “People from all over the world are coming here. They’re coming here because they love what the city has to offer – the parks, the walking. As people come to the downtown core it’s just going to be more exciting and the energy is going to be visible.”
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