There are plans brewing for a major mixed-use development near Gyro Beach in Kelowna’s South Pandosy neighbourhood.
District Group has submitted an application that outlines the project, which includes a 15-storey residential tower and 450 units overall, and would go up on the site that currently houses the Willow Creek Family Campground and the gravel parking lot for Gyro Beach. The facility would feature 20,000 square feet of commercial space.
“The nice thing about the application is that they proved that to a certain level of detail on their drawings that they have a viable project, but they didn’t do too much detail so that there couldn’t be major changes with it when it comes to the development permit,” Kelowna city planner Adam Cseke said.
“The first stage is just the rezoning, and the rezoning is to go to the C4 zone to allow for the commercial mixed use development.”
Sopa Square, which is several hundred metres north of the proposed project, is the tallest building in the South Pandosy neighbourhood at 14 storeys, although that development went through a variety of unique events that resulted in its height and shouldn’t be used as a comparison, Cseke said.
The maximum height allowance in the neighbourhood is eight storeys, but Cseke said that mark could be outdated since the proposed project site is in the city’s defined urban centre.
“The eight-storey height was policy that was written quite awhile ago, and we haven’t had a chance to kind of review the official height in South Pandosy for quite some time,” Cseke said. “So this obviously is pushing the limit, but the first step the applicant is applying for is the rezoning just to allow for that type of land use.”
If District Group can get that far, it will then learn about the city’s and the neighbourhood’s appetite for a large tower between Lakeshore Road and Okanagan Lake.
Another part of the plan includes a land swap between the city and District Group that would result in the extension of Lanfranco Road through Lakeshore to Watt Road.
The project’s first reading at council could take place in August, Cseke said, but it might be delayed until fall depending on engineering studies. Time is of the essence, however.
“The developer, or the proponent, must build that (Lanfranco) road within three years,” Cseke said. “And I believe the deal is now about a year old, and there was a timeline to start development on this site as well, so that’s sort of contributing to the urgency of putting a viable proposal together.”
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