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New Four Points Sheraton to be built in Kelowna
Ground has already been broken for a project that’s being lauded as evidence of Kelowna’s maturing economic profile.
And if all goes according to the plans announced Wednesday, those early stages of construction will lead to a Four Points Sheraton hotel that could very well change the dynamic of the Airport business development area—maybe even Kelowna—by this time next year.
“For eight years I’ve been with Starwood,” said Scott Duff, senior director of development for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “And for eight years we’ve been talking about this project.”
With 60 hotels in Canada, and 1,000 around the world, his company usually puts down roots in “major urban (centres), near airports and hotels.”
But $20-million, state-of-the-art, 120-room hotels aren’t plonked down anywhere. Key to making a commitment is an analysis of the market, the site chosen and the partnerships that will make the brand a success.
All those conditions came into alignment in recent months.
Set across the street from an airport that ranks between eighth to 10th busiest in Canada in any given year, offers some incentive and recently announced upgrades offer more.
As Mayor Walter Gray pointed out, the airport—which marks the “northern gateway to Kelowna”—will only get bigger and better.
“We have approved a $62-million capital project over the next four years,” said Gray. “Having 1.6 million passengers a year, is the goal.”
It’s a lofty one, but Kelowna itself is expanding. In the last census it was cited as the fourth-fastest growing Canadian city, and Gray said that it’s likely the area population will swell to 300,000-plus in the years ahead.
Finally, local development company Argus proved to Starwood through previous projects that it has what it takes to make the hotel a major success.
All the conditions for the business partnership aligning will also amount to a boon for the community.
Argus representative, Tom Killingsworth, said the hotel will bring 85 full-time jobs to the area, during the construction phase and 60 full-time and part time jobs once it’s operational.
“Four Points will be a hub,” he said. “A new place for business and local gatherings.”
Four Points by Sheraton Kelowna Airport new location will capitalize on growth at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus), which has a current enrollment of 8,000 students, including international students from 78 countries.
Other assets noted by the Starwood people is that Kelowna sits on the shores of Okanagan Lake, a 98 mile waterway offering unlimited water sports, and at the centre of a thriving Okanagan Valley economy. For wine enthusiasts, the city is a must-visit to experience the many international award winning wines found among the 50 wineries in the area. Kelowna is also Canada’s newest golf destination with more than 20 courses enjoying the driest, longest and sunniest golf season in Canada.
Winter skiing nearby offers World Class Ski Resorts, which are rated among the top five family resorts in the world.