Strata industrial space launches
Contributed - Nov 14 - Think Local

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Industrial and commercial strata opportunities are extremely rare in Kelowna, especially in a central retail location, but they are an increasingly popular choice for businesses that understand the value of building equity in their own company. With continued low interest rates, increasing land prices and very little opportunity to purchase land in central Kelowna, now is a good time to think about buying industrial strata for your business.

IntraUrban Enterprise is one of the city’s few industrial strata opportunities. And it’s set in an unparalleled location, in the heart of the city’s Okanagan shopping centre district. The centrally located, 2.6-acre site will host 23 new industrial strata units on the major intersection of Enterprise Way and Dilworth Drive, one block off of Highway 97.

The entire building will cover 66,000 square feet, with the new IntraUrban units ranging from 2,000 to 3,900 square feet and offering quality flex space for general industrial use with office and retail components. The development will feature bay garage doors, built-in upper mezzanines, generous glazing for natural light and a modern, high-end product that is rarely found in other industrial projects in Kelowna.

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“Rents in the Kelowna market are on the rise, and in the long-term, owning is a prudent and more profitable idea,” says PC Urban principal Brent Sawchyn. “For Kelowna companies, owning means they can have more capital to invest in tools and growing the business, rather than throwing the money away at rent. Believe it or not, it tends to cost 25% more to rent rather than to own.”

“The attractiveness of commercial condos is that, with a low-interest environment, small business owners see real value in ownership,” says Steve Laursen, a broker with Royal LePage in Kelowna who is co-marketing the project with CBRE. “These businesses are able to grow equity through their real estate. They’re able to improve space and reinvest in it knowing that they’ll benefit once the time comes to sell the property. There are tax breaks for them if they own their own property. They’re able to control their costs and expand or contract their business instead of being at the whim of a landlord. They control their own destiny.”

In 2016, PC Urban launched a commercial strata development in the heart of Vancouver called IntraUrban Laurel. It was the first commercial strata within city limits in more than five years and it was a huge success, selling out before construction started—an unprecedented feat in the Vancouver market, one that highlighted the need for ownership opportunities for the city’s small and medium-sized businesses. PC Urban had a similar experience selling its second industrial strata project on Mitchell Island, called IntraUrban Rivershore and its third, IntraUrban Brentwood, in Burnaby. The company is now bringing their experience with industrial strata to Kelowna’s burgeoning commercial real estate market.

“There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity for businesses to invest in their own commercial property in central Kelowna,” Laursen says. “IntraUrban Enterprise will be a premier industrial development due to its location, featuring unparalleled access to retail, downtown and main transportation routes for business space as well as for recreational storage.”

Named by Western Investor magazine as the number one city to invest in real estate in Western Canada over the next year, Kelowna’s land values are set to rise again in the coming years. For more information on industrial strata in the heart of Kelowna, check out www.intraurban.ca/enterprise.

Live, work and enjoy
Contributed - Nov 13 - Think Local

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If you’re tired of commuting, own a small business, want to live in a beautiful new building with many amenities that make you never want to leave, ONE Water Street has the perfect solution.

This week, the downtown Kelowna project named the city’s best seller, is introducing the Live-Work Collection. It will consist of six business spaces at street level of the ONE Water Street towers along with a luxury home on the second level. They will be connected by a staircase.

“It’s a great place to work and live,” Kerkhoff Construction president Leonard Kerkhoff says. “It’s an opportunity for business owners that have a smaller practice, whether it’s an accounting firm, consultant, hairstylist or an art studio person … just those smaller businesses that want that interface with the public at street level and want to live in that same space.”

The commercial spaces, which range from 1,400 to 2,000 square feet, will be unfinished and ready for business customization. They will feature primed walls, open ceilings, a commercial-grade aluminum door, a washroom wood door, 100-amp electrical service, and a roughed-in washroom and wet bar.

The living area on the second storey will have one bedroom and a large den, or a flex space, and the finishes will be consistent with the interiors throughout ONE Water Street.

Anyone who purchases a Live-Work Collection space will also have access to all the amenities on The Bench, the 1.3-acre space on the four-storey podium between and around the two towers. The outdoor features include two swimming pools, generously sized hot tub, patio with tables and couches, grilling stations and harvest picnic tables, fire pit enclaves, dog park and pickleball court.

Indoor amenities include private health club with fully equipped gym, dedicated yoga/Pilates studio plus secondary rooms available for stretching, multi-purpose entertainment room with kitchen, seating and dining areas, business centre and guest suites.

Best of all, both your business and your home will be in the middle of all the action downtown, just steps from everything you could ever want.

“It’s a great spot,” Kerkhoff says. “Ellis is a busy street, across from The Train Station Pub and the Central restaurant. It’s a great interface with a dynamic downtown Kelowna city core.”

Not only that, but you will also have a network of hundreds of people living in the ONE Water Street community.

“You’ve got, in-house, 426 homes in the property at ONE Water Street alone,” he says. “You’ll be able to tap into that and have a built-in clientele. It’s phenomenal.”

ONE Water Street, which is being co-developed by North American Development Group and Kerkhoff Construction, is currently under construction. The first tower is scheduled to be completed by late 2020, with the second one expected to be done nine months later.

‘Okanagan in a day’
Contributed - Nov 08 - Think Local

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Local development McKinley Beach will join the Okanagan wine industry in the very near future.

The development team behind McKinley Beach, which includes G Group Land Development and North American Development Group, recently confirmed the sale of 42 acres of the McKinley Beach development land to a local Okanagan family and vintner.

“McKinley Beach is thrilled to announce this partnership with a local vintner who will bring a high level of business expertise and vision to this winery and vineyard,” G Group Land Development’s Andrew Gaucher says. “The winery-vineyard has long been part of the vision and story for the McKinley Beach development, spanning back over a decade ago.”

While the new winery’s official name is being finalized, phase one of the build has already begun with site services, utilities and soil preparation. Twelve acres of vineyard will be planted in spring 2019, featuring pinot noir, riesling and merlot grapes.

Future plans for the new winery and vineyard include a restaurant and tasting room. The new owner is planning to construct a best-in-class facility, a “place of gathering, gratitude, celebrating nature” designed to be a “calm sanctuary” set within the surrounding forest with the endless lake views for which McKinley Beach has become known.

In addition to the winery, the McKinley Beach development team will be releasing Vineyard Lots, also in spring 2019. These exclusive lots will feature views of the vineyard and lake, and will be unlike anything previously offered at McKinley Beach. These will complement the remaining lots available on the Hillside, and be released alongside plans for future townhomes and single-family homes in the new Hilltown community.

“We aim to curate an experience of ‘Okanagan in a day’ within the McKinley Beach community,” Gaucher says. “With a kilometre of beachfront, a marina and now a vineyard-winery, this creates an unparalleled community for all McKinley Beach residents and visitors alike. We have more announcements regarding this vineyard-winery to come, as well as other announcements related to new home types and more, in the spring.”

With the 2018 expansion of the private marina now complete along with phase one of the Beachhouse, the community will look forward to seeing both a lakefront coffee shop and wine bar launching in summer 2019.

Homes to provide stability
Contributed - Nov 07 - Think Local

We know from the 2018 Homeless Count that there are at least 286 homeless individuals in Kelowna and many more who are less visible because they live in their cars or couch surf. This year the Province of British Columbia introduced the Rapid Response to Homelessness program to help homeless individuals in Kelowna and throughout the province move into housing.

On behalf of the Province, BC Housing, in partnership with the John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan, is proposing to build up to 52 units of supportive housing at 2025 Agassiz Rd. If this project is approved, individuals who are homeless or at risk can apply for housing and, following a rigorous assessment process, will be able to move in and start their journey towards more stable lives.

We must understand that for many of these individuals, having a safe, secure and private room will be a big adjustment. Therefore, the proposed housing will also provide support services from Interior Health and local non-profit service providers. Residents will be required to pay rent equivalent to the province’s income assistance shelter rate of $375 and adhere to a program agreement that will ensure respectful behaviour.

BC Housing wants to provide more information to the neighbours and business community who live and work near Agassiz Road. If you’re interested in learning more about this proposed housing, we encourage you to attend an open house on Thursday, Nov. 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Redwood Room at the Ramada Hotel at 2170 Harvey Ave.

There will also be a demonstration modular unit, similar to the proposed housing available for touring, in the parking lot of the Sandman Hotel at 2130 Harvey Ave. from 2 to 8 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9.

If you require more information or want to provide feedback directly to BC Housing, please send it to [email protected]

Click the video above to hear Lori’s story about her journey to supportive housing.

What to do with a windfall
Contributed - Nov 06 - Think Local

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Charmaine White has never heard of anyone who regrets paying off debt.

“There’s no risk in paying off your debt,” White says. “No one’s ever come to me and said, ‘Why did I pay off my mortgage?’ ”

White is an Investment Advisor at Prospera Credit Union, and one of the areas in which she specializes is helping clients deal with a sudden windfall. It’s not that exciting, but getting rid of debt is likely to be White’s first recommendation if you go into her office after receiving a significant amount of money.

“Every situation is different. Tell me everything about you, and I’m going to look at the big picture,” White says. “The more I know about you and your family—everything from what tax bracket you’re in to what interest rate you’re paying on your credit cards to whether you’ve got ailing parents or kids that are dependent on you—the better the recommendations I’m going to make. They’re going to be tailored to you.”

White recently worked with a couple that received an inheritance and had never had much of a financial plan. The first thing White did—the same thing she does with all clients—was learn everything about the couple’s financial situation and anything in their life that might affect it.

The husband and wife were about 10 years from retirement, and they still had a mortgage and some consumer debt. After reviewing the file and learning about their pension situations, White determined they were on target for a comfortable retirement.

“I recommended they pay off their mortgage and all their credit cards,” White said. “They weren’t in a high tax bracket, so we put as much of the remaining funds we could into their tax-free savings account. They’d never had one before, so they were each able to put in $57,500.

“The husband had a hobby that he was really passionate about,” White says. “He really wanted to put some money towards it, and I encouraged him to do so because you have to live for today, too. It doesn’t all have to go towards debt and the boring stuff.

“Finally, we put the rest of the money in laddered GICs, and now they’ve got money that will be available to them every year for travel, their hobbies and to keep maxing out their TFSAs.

“That was them. If I had the same conversation with you it might be completely different.”

The advice doesn’t end there at Prospera, as White likes to meet with her clients at least once a year to ensure their financial situation is still rock solid.

If you’ve had a recent windfall and would like some advice in deciding what to do with it, White or another Prospera advisor can help.

The right choice for mayor
Contributed - Oct 19 - Think Local

A TRUE OKANAGAN ORIGINAL

Some people say it’s rare to meet a person living in Kelowna that is born and raised here. I don’t consider myself rare, I consider myself lucky. Since my 1985 inception to this great city I have been blessed to live and encompass all that the Okanagan has to offer. Being able to raise my family and grow an entrepreneurial portfolio in Kelowna has always been my first choice and continues to be one of my best decisions to date. If I had to use one word to describe Kelowna, it would be FAMILY. Very much the same way my children have grown up and changed before my eyes, so has Kelowna. Both cases have encountered great success, as well as their share of growing pains. It’s no secret that Kelowna’s landscape boasts magnificent beauty, but it is the people that really make our city so amazing. That is because we are much more than just citizens among buildings, we are a family among friends.

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“You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.”
It is an old adage many are familiar with, as well as a statement I choose to disagree with. Not only do I choose to be your friend and family, I choose to run for office in order to represent us all with leadership that respects, regards and values all who choose to make Kelowna home. I choose Kelowna because it is as genuine as it is first class. I hope you choose to elect Bobby Kennedy for Mayor on Oct. 20, 2018, for the exact same reasons.

AN OATH OF INTEGRITY

There was a time in history where someone’s word meant everything and a handshake was all that you needed to confirm that. There was a time where doing the right thing wasn’t just an option, it was a way of life and moral integrity wasn’t just a quality found in some, it was the benchmark that defined all. It seems more and more these days that people’s words can change as easily as their Facebook status and that saying what you mean doesn’t necessarily prove that you mean what you say. This seems to be especially true when it comes to politics and the promises surrounding them. When it comes to promises and guarantees to the people I can only make one that regardless of how the future unfolds I can 100% stand and deliver on without hesitation. That promise is that my word is my bond and that every decision and choice I make for Kelowna as Mayor will be made with full integrity retaining to what is the absolute best choice for the people of Kelowna to carry us forward and prosper us as a community. When it comes to community based decisions I look to the four P’s: Progression, Passion, People and Pride.

We will ask ourselves: Is this decision propelling Kelowna forward? Are we passionate about our plan? Does this benefit the people of our community? And finally: Will we be proud of this decision regardless of the outcome?

If we always make our choices based on the four P’s then we will always have decisions based around fundamental principles that create a solid foundation for success. I cant guarantee that every decision made will be easy or correct but I can guarantee that no decision will ever be made without our inner integral compass leading the way.

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Redefining our leadership’s commitment to community,
Bobby Kennedy

Authorized by financial agent Bobby Kennedy, 250-870-2627

New condos have Essence
Contributed - Oct 18 - Think Local

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If you are looking to move out of your single-family home but don’t want to lose the space, you will want to know about Essence Condos.

The Carrington Homes project, which is currently under construction on Kelowna’s Truswell Road, is hosting a pre-sale launch on Thursday, Oct. 25 at the nearby Hotel Eldorado. The event begins at noon.

Essence Condos will have just 21 suites, and most of them come in large sizes. There is only a single one-bedroom unit and two that are less than 1,100 square feet. The other 18 suites start at 1,526 square feet and go all the way up to 3,081 square feet.

“The plans are laid out as such that you have nice, good-sized closets, nice en suites off the masters, good-sized bathrooms and wet bar areas. There’s some nice entertainment spaces within the homes as well,” Carrington sales project manager Kathy Douglas says. “You don’t find condo kitchens like these. You won’t miss your single-family home.”

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Essence Condos are located between Lakeshore Drive and Okanagan Lake just south of Hotel Eldorado, which will give its residents stunning views of the lake to the west, of Mission Creek Greenway to the south and of mountains and orchards to the east.

The suites will also have large balconies great for entertaining, and the master bedrooms are as big as 19 feet by 13 feet. Best of all? Almost all of them are on one floor, although there are two-storey condominiums available.

“They are perfect for the downsizer who does not want to give up their space but wants everything on one level,” says Douglas, who recently downsized into a Carrington home herself.

Another notable feature of Essence Condos, according to Douglas, will be the residents. Most will be retired or semi-retired, so interests will be shared.

“We’re creating a community here, and that’s something we try to do in all our buildings,” Douglas says. “You’re with like-minded people, you’re creating a community atmosphere where you’re going to know your neighbours but they’re not going to know your business.

“This building provides you the home but also the lifestyle that you want, because you can just lock the door and go.”

There are less flashy but no less important attributes of Essence Condos, including a sound transfer certification rating that is above code, a rain screen exterior wall system and a fire resistant spray that is on the building.

“We’re a builder that pays attention to what our clients’ needs are,” Douglas says, “and we want to keep them safe.”

Residents will be able to move in next summer.

Visit the Essence Condos website to register for next Thursday’s pre-sale launch event.

The trades need you
Contributed - Oct 17 - Think Local

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Comfort Tech Heating and Cooling has been providing unparalleled service to the Okanagan Valley for years.

They would like to continue doing that—and there is no doubt they will—but they are having a tough time finding enough tradespeople to do all the work that is available. Comfort Tech is not alone, either. Other heating, ventilation and air conditioning companies, not to mention those in the plumbing and electrical fields, are experiencing similar worker shortages.

“Right now I could hire easily three or four more technicians if I could find them,” Comfort Tech co-owner Terri Wilkinson says. “I would hire more apprentices, but I can’t because I don’t have enough journeymen to train them.

“We turn down work every day. It’s very frustrating.”

Comfort Tech isn’t imploring young people to think about the trades just for their own business; they are concerned about the entire industry and would like to see every position filled across the spectrum.

“There’s less and less people all the time from the high schools being pushed toward the trades,” Wilkinson says. “Most parents want their kids to go to college. It’s getting better, but there’s a huge gap. The Baby Boomers are all retiring, and there’s a lot of tradespeople—blue-collar workers—in that group of people. And all the kids now are going to college to get degrees they can’t really get work for, and they’re not looking at trades as a viable option.”

Wilkinson points out that there are many economic benefits to getting into trades. The government provides incentive programs, which include workers using employment insurance while they attend school, to make it worth their whiles. If that’s not enough, the pay once you become an apprentice is more than attractive.

“We’ve raised our wages probably 20 per cent in the last year or two,” Wilkinson says. “We have full medical, full dental, extended benefits, RRSP programs with matching. We have all of that stuff. We provide them with vehicles, vacation pay … anything you can think of.

“I think a lot of people believe that trades are not year-round work, but I haven’t laid a guy off due to lack of work for five or six years. If somebody left high school and got into a trade immediately, they could be earning thirty dollars an hour by the time they’re 23 or 24 years old.”

Wilkinson said apprentices and journeymen wouldn’t be bored at work, as Comfort Tech provides a variety of services. They work in both residential and commercial buildings, and they do everything from furnaces to air conditioning to hot water tanks to fireplaces.

The industry is also one of the most prolific when it comes to cutting-edge technology; Comfort Tech is almost entirely paperless, every worker uses iPads, and work orders going back years are available at the touch of a finger. Wilkinson hopes that makes it an attractive profession for young people.

“When you embrace technology in that fashion,” she says, “that can be really attractive to the millennial generation.”

For more information about working at Comfort Tech, visit their website.

Salvation Army puts out call
Contributed - Oct 02 - Think Local

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Members of The Salvation Army Central Okanagan do more than you probably realize.

Yes, they provide meals to those who are hungry. Yes, the thrift stores help provide affordable clothing for those trying to stretch their budget. Yes, The Salvation Army does an annual Christmas Kettle Campaign.

But they do so much more than that, which is why they are looking for a little help as they approach their 100th anniversary of service to the Central Okanagan. The organization is trying to raise $750,000 by June 1, 2019, to pay off the mortgage on their Community Life Centre, which is located at 200 Rutland Rd. South.

“There’s always a need,” The Salvation Army Central Okanagan business manager Donna Thibideau says. “We are always experiencing an increase of those in need. That does put a lot of stress on our resources, and if we can alleviate some of our financial commitments, like paying off a mortgage, it would free up $160,000 a year and save 10 years of interest payments as well.”

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The fundraising drive is above and beyond the annual Christmas Kettle Campaign. Thibideau likes to joke that they only need 750 people to donate $1,000 each. “How hard could that be?” she asks with a laugh.

If people knew just how involved The Salvation Army is in the community, it actually might not be that difficult to raise three-quarters of a million dollars.

In addition to the food bank and thrift stores, The Salvation Army also provides an emergency response vehicle for community crises, the community life centre, family services and resources to encourage a healthy life. It has created programs designed to help the community’s most vulnerable get a fresh start in life, like their Daily Bread Program and Creative Connections.

They recently created a Grief Group for those who have lost loved ones or have suffered loss due to natural disasters. They are also starting a weekly dinner—called Sally’s Table—where anyone can come for some companionship and a decent meal.

“It’s providing a sense of community for those who don’t usually have it,” Thibideau says.

There are many organizations in Kelowna and surrounding area that help those in need. The Salvation Army is like a safety net that catches anyone who slips through the cracks. And they strive to work closely with other organizations so that they share resources and complement one another’s services.

“Housing costs have risen a lot in the last year, which puts a financial strain on our lower income earners,” Thibideau says. “Our clients are not predominantly homeless clients. They are seniors, working individuals and families that need help stretching their dollar because their housing costs are so expensive.”

The Salvation Army Central Okanagan is hoping you can help with its overhead costs so it can help everyone else in the Okanagan with theirs—and so much more.

‘Iconic’ towers selling quickly
Contributed - Oct 01 - Think Local

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ONE Water Street is starting to rise, and the developers behind Kelowna’s tallest buildings could not be happier with how sales have gone.

“The project’s a huge success,” North American Development Group managing partner Henry Bereznicki says. “We’ve come to the market with a high-quality project, and the market has accepted that and rewarded us by buying the homes.”

The proof is in the pudding. NADG and Kerkhoff have already sold 365 of 426 homes in both towers combined, and the first building isn’t scheduled to open until the spring of 2021. If that doesn’t indicate the kind of project that is going up in downtown Kelowna, nothing will.

“We’ve created, in our opinion, the most unique product in Kelowna,” Bereznicki says. “In addition to oversized suites with oversized balconies with spectacular views of the lake, we’ve also committed 60,000 square feet of outdoor amenity space, which is 1.3 acres of park space on top of the three-level parking structure, which includes two outdoor swimming pools, an outdoor hot tub, six fire pits, six barbecue areas, a dog run and a pickleball court.

“In addition to those amenities, we’ve got a 3,000 square-foot health club in addition to a 2,000 square-foot yoga and pilates studio. No one’s spending as much on amenity space as we are and offering as much amenity value for free, and we’ve got lots of parking.”

ONE Water Street’s two towers will have a unique look that Bereznicki describes as “iconic.” They will be tall and skinny instead of big, bulky blocks.

“We’re spending more money because it costs money to go tall and skinny,” Bereznicki says. “I’m very proud of how it’s going to look. The building is gorgeous. It’s not just a four-sided glass box.”

ONE Water Street has price points remaining from the high $700,000s to $6 million following the recent release of the Reserve Collection, which consists entirely of lakeview homes. Two- and three-bedroom condos (some with dens), townhomes, sub-penthouses and penthouse are available.

The East Tower, which is under construction now, is 92 per cent sold, while the West Tower, which will start rising next fall, is 84 per cent gone.

“Both are home runs,” Bereznicki says.

The project fits in perfectly with what Kelowna city officials are trying to accomplish, which is getting more people living downtown. They want the area to thrive, and Bereznicki points out that ONE Water Street will be leading the revolution.

“When we were doing the design I compared it to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun,” he says. “Your hotel room’s in a tower. Then you’ve got this huge outdoor swimming pool and suntanning area, where you’d spend the whole day by the pool.

“For me, I like to work out, and being able to work out in your building—not having to join the gym, not having to join a health club and not having to get in your car—is pretty cool. You just go down the elevator. And we’re buying L.A. Fitness-quality machines. This isn’t just a few free weights. We’re buying quality machines and quality everything.”

And if the residents of ONE Water Street need anything, nothing will be far away.

“We’re bringing urban Okanagan living to downtown Kelowna,” Bereznicki says.

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