The much anticipated start of construction on a new 24-story downtown Kelowna hotel at the foot of Queensway, has been delayed.
Construction was expected to begin in March, but the company behind the project, Alberta-based Westcorp, announced Tuesday it has pushed back its plans to start construction until this fall.
“Over the last number of months, Westcorp has continued work on the detailed design and engineering of our downtown hotel project,” said Gail Temple, Westcorp’s vice-president of stakeholder management in a news release issued Tuesday.
“Although progress has been good, some elements of the design are still being finalized,”
With the delay in the finalization of construction drawings, the lead-in time associated with the demolition of the Water Street buildings on the site and typical risks associated with going into the ground, the company decided the window for construction for the foundations during low water table levels is now too tight to start work in March. As a result, it will wait until after the summer when the water table recedes to begin construction.
The release indicated Westcorp will continue to go full steam ahead with the interior design work and branding.
“With an expected two-year build, it remains our intention to time the opening of the hotel with the slow part of the tourist cycle in order to properly ramp up operations. The expected hotel opening will be late 2018 or early 2019,” said Westcorp release.
“Despite the delay in construction commencement, we will move ahead with prepping the site this spring and will seek a demolition permit for the existing Water Street buildings. We expect to have them removed prior to May and, after demolition is complete, the east side of the site will be leveled so that it can be used for temporary pay parking throughout the busy summer months.
“The leadership of Metro Community (which is located in one of the Water Street buildings to be demolished) is excited and supportive of the new development. It is keen to see it proceed and plan to vacate the premises on March 1.”
Westcorp said Metro will initially move to a temporary location, with a plan to move into a long-term, permanent location sometime in 2017.
“We are working with them through this transition and wish them all the best as they continue with their efforts to make a difference in our community.”
Westcorp said while the delay of the construction start date is unfortunate, it hopes the change will allow it to better coordinate the construction with the city’s planned reconstruction of Kerry Park. The new hotel will front onto the park.