Acre of prime land in downtown Kelowna faces uncertain future | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Acre of prime land in downtown Kelowna faces uncertain future

The old McDonald's on Highway 97 and Water Street is seen in this image from Google Street View.
September 18, 2020 - 5:16 PM

By combining the former McDonald’s restaurant site in downtown Kelowna with an adjoining City-owned property, the City could create a parcel of prime public land totalling about one acre.

It’s next to the very busy Highway 97, borders on Water Street and has Mill Creek at its southern boundary so, in theory, it has some potential.

But there are also some severe constraints to redeveloping the property.

“Over the next several months, we will be working on what is feasible for redevelopment,” Graham Hood, the Kelowna’s strategic land development manager, told “(That includes) establishing what the City’s priorities are for Mill Creek, for transportation on the highway and testing market forces as well as looking at the (Official Community Plan) to see what could be developed on these sites.”

READ MORE: Kelowna buys old McDonald's lot and they're lovin' it

It is zoned for commercial use but that could include residential or it could be rezoned. It could be sold to a developer or the City could keep it.

The City bought the 0.725 acre site in May for $2.05 million and settled a legal dispute with McDonald’s that closed the restaurant in 2007 after losing access to Highway 97 when the Bennett bridge was opened.

That lack of highway access is a major stumbling block to commercial redevelopment. Access is currently through Boyce Crescent.

READ MORE: Former McDonald's site in downtown Kelowna being prepped for demolition

Mill Creek also poses a problem since any construction requires setbacks from creeks and it’s unclear at this time how the Mill Creek corridor might impact the site. It will certainly reduce the amount of land that can be developed.

The City owns property on the north side of the highway including about half an acre that was once a Husky gas station. It’s kitty-corner to the McDonalds land.

Lands on the north side of the highway between Ellis and Richter streets, including the site of the Chamber of Commerce office, are also City-owned.

The City will start removing asbestos and lead from the building next week in preparation for it being demolished by the end of October.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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