The fences went up earlier this week, and on Thursday morning heavy machinery arrived at what will become the Ella development in downtown Kelowna.
The Mission Group project, at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Ellis Street, will feature a 20-storey tower housing 116 condo units.
It will sit on a five-storey podium that houses an above-ground parking garage and ground-level retail space.
City council approved the project in the summer. Mission Group VP of development Luke Turri says pre-construction work is underway on the site with full construction expected to begin at the end of February once a building permit is secured.
Pre-construction includes the drilling of numerous piles on the site.
Dustin Harris, with Keller Pile Driving, says the company will be drilling more than 130 piles, 160 feet into the ground. The work is expected to take approximately seven weeks to complete.
Turri says he expects construction to take about two years, with completion around the beginning of 2020. Ella is already about 75 per cent sold.
Turri says he believes this development will spark continued interest in other downtown developments.
“We are very much looking forward to the continuing progression of the core of downtown, particularly the area around Bernard Avenue. On that basis, we just purchased the Bargain Shop site and we are working through designs on that,” said Turri.
“I think everyone is excited about how the downtown core has changed over the last two years in particular, with all of the shops and services that are there now. It is becoming that dynamic urban hub that everyone was hoping for.”
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