Developer adjusts plans on major downtown project to build Kelowna's tallest high-rise | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Developer adjusts plans on major downtown project to build Kelowna's tallest high-rise

Redering of the Water Street by the Park development going for final approval on Dec. 8.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

Developer Anthony Beyrouti has won over City of Kelowna planning staff by doing just about everything they asked him to do in his effort to build Kelowna’s tallest high-rise on Leon Avenue.

He’s backed off from his original plan to include a hotel in his three-tower project. His efforts to get permission to build some Airbnb-type rental suites were shot down by council in September.

In his latest revision, he has cut down on the total number of condominiums in order to meet staff’s parking demands.

Now, all he needs is for city council to allow him to add an extra 16 storeys to one of the towers so he can totally change the Leon Street that served as a homeless camp only a year ago.

His application for a development permit with variances goes to council on Dec. 8 which will make or break the project.

READ MORE: Developer has tight timeline if Kelowna’s 'worst place in town' is going to be transformed

“Financially we need to get this thing approved immediately, or else there’s a massive tax kick-in coming in January,” Beyrouti told iNFOnews in September.

There is a significant increase in development cost charges on Jan. 1 for projects that don’t have development permits in place.

“If we don’t get this thing approved there’s no point in doing it because we’re going to have to shelve it for several years in order for the math to make sense because you’ve got $7 million in extra tax kicking in in January," he said.

Beyrouti first proposed his Water Street by the Park development in January, shortly after the City relocated dozens of homeless people who had set up tents beside the Kelowna Gospel Mission homeless shelter. This project is right across the street from the shelter.

READ MORE: Shutdown of Kelowna homeless tent city catches campers by surprise

In September, Beyrouti told the hotel idea was dropped, in part, because the Ministry of Transportation would need a traffic study because it’s only a block from Highway 97. That would have delayed the project by six months and missed the window of opportunity for avoiding the development cost increases

Beyrouti, at that time, said he absolutely needed to get a height variance but also needed a break on the number of parking stalls because he couldn’t afford to lose units in order to provide enough parking.

The zone allows for 26-storey towers. He’s proposing towers with 24, 28 and 42 storeys.

“The tall buildings will be a striking element to the downtown and will create more North/South height balance considering the tall buildings of One Water in the north,” the staff report going to council said.

The report also includes renderings of other high-rise buildings in Kelowna as a comparison.

Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

In this latest version, Beyrouti has reduced the number of condominiums from 732 to 650 in order to have room for the required 727 parking stalls. That means the parking variance is no longer needed. He’s only asking for a reduction in the number of short-term bicycle parking stalls from 112 to 28, which staff supports.

“The project should help lead revitalization efforts along the Leon Avenue corridor and hopefully will trigger further positive investment and redevelopment,” the staff report reads. “The commercial spaces should act not only to provide an amenity and service to residents but also add to the overall vibrancy of the downtown.”

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