Concern that the character of downtown Kelowna will be worsened when movies stop playing at the Paramount Theatre are being kept in mind, say representatives of the the Calgary-based company that are set to re-develop the property.
“We’re very sensitive to (community concerns),” said Doug Porozni, president of Ronmor Developers Inc. “It‘s one of the reasons we want to keep as much of the character of the building as we can.”
It wasn’t always clear what would happen with the nearly 70-year-old building when Ronmor purchased it three years ago.
“Initially we were going to demolish it and build a mixed use project there, but we’ve realized we should keep the bones of the building the best we can, including the sign out front,” he said.
There still will be changes to the 14,000 square foot property that’s now being referred to in Ronmor advertising as Paramount Court.
“We have to bring it up to code,” Porozni said. “The building has reached a point that you have to modify things.”
One of the modifications will be sectioning the current space to accommodate two to three businesses.
The company has already been approached by interested parties who would like to rent space to start a restaurant or retail operation, but nothing has been confirmed.
One of the issues for the development company is knowing when renovations can get underway.
Bill Walker, the chief operating officer for Landmark Cinemas Canada said Tuesday that their lease with Ronmor ended in May, but they would likely wrap up their operation before the deadline. When exactly, however, remains to be seen.
Regardless, said Porozni, the new project will add to the atmosphere on Bernard Avenue, which he noted has been greatly improved by City of Kelowna projects.
“We’re looking forward to that building and its next venture in your market,” he said.
A more well rounded plan for the building will be in front of council sometime in late spring or early summer.
The Paramount Theatre was built in two pieces. The first came in 1946 and the second was built in the 1960s.