Kelowna Daily Courier building to be replaced by UBC hub - InfoNews

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Kelowna Daily Courier building to be replaced by UBC hub

An artist's conceptual rendering of the new UBC presence in downtown Kelowna.
June 03, 2020 - 11:32 AM

The Kelowna Daily Courier building will be replaced in the months ahead by a UBC mixed-use development featuring community-facing academic space, office space and university rental housing.

The Courier building and lands were sold in March and the investor wasn't named at that time. Today UBC announced  it was the buyer and the downtown investment was made possible through an agreement with the City of Kelowna, where the city bought a 67-hectare portion of the agricultural lands owned by the university to the west of the Okanagan campus, subject to approval from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

“The acquisition of these lands allows for an enhanced buffer zone around the landfill and contributes to the long-term sustainability of this important regional asset, while at the same time creating an opportunity for UBC to establish itself in the downtown core, a goal we’ve been working towards since UBCO’s inception,” Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said in a press release.

Rezoning and architectural planning for the downtown project is expected to begin in the coming months.

UBC Okanagan Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard says that a downtown presence is the logical next step in the evolution of the campus.

“Since our creation in 2005, we have grown from 3,000 students to over 11,000 today and we expect our community to continue its development, reaching a population of over 20,000 by 2040,”  Buszard said in a press release. “With this kind of expanded presence over the coming years, it only makes sense that we would create community-facing academic space in the heart of Kelowna, in close proximity to many of our community partners working in health, tech, business, and arts and culture.”

The downtown strip has changed over the years with the Innovation Centre being built just a block away and the Interior Health offices being across the street from the Courier.

“UBC and the City have worked together on many projects over the years and this was a golden opportunity for us to proactively advocate for the university’s presence downtown,”    Basran said in a press release. “This will undoubtedly create a wealth of economic and societal benefits and contribute enormously to the cultural fabric of our downtown.”

The Courier announced the sale in March on its own website. In a story by Daily Courier staff, it said the 30,000 square-foot building is owned by Continental Newspaper Group and was built in 1974. Current zoning of the large property allows for the construction of up to 12 storeys. It was put on the market in January 2018.

The newspaper has been leasing back the building since the sale.

Today, publisher Stephanie Goodban said the business will carry on.

"We are very pleased to see the University of British Columbia expanding their presence in Kelowna. It is fantastic for the neighbourhood and wonderful for the city and the entire Okanagan Valley," she said. "The Daily Courier will carry on business as usual, serving our readers and advertisers as it has for over 115 years."

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