COVID-19 won't slow down major Kelowna office and residential towers - InfoNews

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COVID-19 won't slow down major Kelowna office and residential towers

This drawing shows the 17-storey Bernard office tower on the left. The building on the right will be called the Bernard and soar to 34 storeys.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna
June 04, 2020 - 6:00 PM

While there’s much talk about COVID-19 changing how people will work in the future and the impact that might have on the need for office space when more people are expected to work from home, that’s not having much impact on plans for two downtown Kelowna towers.

Last night, June 3, Kelowna city council unanimously approved the Mission Group’s permits to build a 17-story commercial/office tower (to be called the Bernard) and a 34-story residential tower (called the Bertram) on Bernard Avenue.

“We’re very bullish on the long term position for office space in Kelowna, particularly in key locations in the downtown,” Luke Turri, Mission Group’s executive vice-president told today. “I think that COVID-19, like all challenges, will pass. It’s not business as usual today, we understand that. It will be at some point.”

This will be the first high rise office tower in downtown Kelowna’s history with construction to start by the end of the year on it and the residential tower. It will join the 25-storey Bertram residential tower currently under construction and fill in the block between St. Paul and Bertram streets.

READ MORE: This corner of downtown Kelowna is about to change drastically

COVID-19 has delayed the opening of the residential sales office until the fall but the plan was always to start construction jointly on the two buildings by the end of the year, Turri said.

He’s not buying into the idea that so many more people will work from home in the future that less office space will be needed.

“The way in which we work does change,” Turri said. “Having said that, the need for office space for collaboration and engagement in an in-person basis, we think is still there. It might heighten the importance of a high amenity location where you’re attracting talent and business to key spots.”

He’s had lots of interest in the commercial and office spaces.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to see things clearly during these sort of events,” Turri said. “This too shall pass and we believe Kelowna is really well positioned to recover when things return back to normal.”

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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