An artist’s rendition of the new, thinner version of One Water Street.—Image credit: contributed/Kasian Architecture

Proposed tallest buildings in Kelowna growing

Two towers planned for One Water street now slated to be 36 and 29 storeys tall.

Plans for the tallest building in Kelowna have just grown a little bit taller.

North American Development Group (NADG) and Kerkhoff Construction, the developers behind One Water Street, have unveiled new images and details about the architectural form and character of the proposed twin-tower development they will show off to the public at an open house June 7 at the Laurel Packinghouse at Cawston Avenue and Ellis Street. The open house is scheduled to run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

While the original plans called for towers of 35-storeys and 27-storeys, the reworked plan calls for taller, thinner buildings to create what the developers say will be optimal views for residents and “the best viewing corridors between the buildings for its neighbours.”

The new towers, if approved by city council, would be 36 storeys and 29 storeys high. The first three floors of both buildings would be part of a large, three-story base building under both towers.

The development, slated for the corner of Water Street and Sunset Drive downtown—kitty corner to Prospera Place—is being designed by Kasian Architecture, which designed the city’s new police services building, the Rotary Centre of the Arts and the Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovation Research at UBC Okanagan.

“We want these (new towers) to be distinctive and beautiful, something that stands out among downtown Kelowna’s skyline and enhances it,” said Don Kasian, president of Kasian Architecture.

“We believe this design will create an iconic element to the skyline while preserving the views that are loved by locals and visitors.”

The developers say they want One Water Street to encompass “the ultimate downtown Kelowna lifestyle” with street-level shopping, great food and amazing views from the residential towers.

“We want to create a place that connects the Sunset Drive District to the Cultural District and a development that is worthy of the location,” said Leonard Kerkhoff, vice-president of construction at Kerkhoff Construction.

“Our vision for One Water Street is that it will not only enrich downtown Kelowna but add to the city’s growing reputation as the urban centre of the Okanagan.”

If approved, the towers would be tallest between Vancouver and Calgary.

But, in order to proceed, the developers must convince city council to approve height variances that would substantially go beyond what is currently allowed in the area.

The maximum height allowed now, without a variance, is 24 storeys.

Currently, the tallest building in the city is located nearby on Sunset Drive. Waterscapes is 26 storeys.

The site chosen for the development has a long history of stalled and scrapped projects, having twice been slated to house a new hotel. Both hotel projects fell through and the site has sat vacant for years.