Developer hands massive Kelowna hotel plans to city staff | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Developer hands massive Kelowna hotel plans to city staff

An artist's drawing of the Westcorp hotel on the shore of Okanagan Lake in downtown Kelowna.
Image Credit: Westcorp
December 16, 2019 - 6:00 AM

The newest plans for a massive downtown Kelowna hotel is in the hands of city planners.

Westcorp has submitted a document with a long list of changes they previously announced, including reduced height, more parking and more residential units.

There is still no specific date for when the project will be built.

Among the changes before planners are a reduction of the tower's height by 4.6 metres, to 126 metres.

A third level of underground parking will be added which will raise the stall count from 295 to 331.

Two rows of above-ground parkade stalls on Water Street have been replaced with hotel rooms.

Westcorp is looking for 36,013 square metres in gross floor area, up from the earlier 34,680 square metres.

The hotel was approved to have 174 hotel rooms and 40 to 50 residential units but the newest design has185 hotel rooms and 50 to 65 residential units, dependent upon market demand for unit size.

Changes will eventually require council approval.

In 2018 there was a public hearing for another development variance requested by Westcorp. It allowed for a much larger 33-storey hotel and condominium complex.

Construction on that iteration of the project was supposed to begin before the end of this year. A previous version was supposed to see construction begin in 2016.

Going further back into the project's history, in 2007 Westcorp principal Phil Milroy financed what is known as a comprehensive development plan for a large swath of downtown, where the company also owns other property.

The plan, known as CD-21, would have governed not only the construction of the hotel site but also those around it, including height and density but also the placement of urban parks and street closures.

The centerpiece of the plan would have been the Westcorp hotel on land purchased in 2003, originally envisioned by the company as jutting out into Okanagan Lake, sitting in part on land in Kerry Park.

Public pressure at the time pushed the company to scale down its original plans and pull it back from the water’s edge but it was ultimately all for naught as council of the day voted against the plan.

The pullback in Kelowna's real estate market after the recession put the project back on ice.


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