The sound of construction crews hard at work may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but to many Kelowna business owners and politicians, it’s the best kind of music.
After years of somewhat stagnant growth and development, the city’s downtown core is in the midst of a major makeover, with the much-publicized Bernard Avenue Revitalization Project just one, highly visible piece in the puzzle.
There are nearly two-dozen development projects proposed or underway downtown; everything from boat slips and vehicle parking to residential buildings, hotels and commercial office space.
The latest project to break ground is Upper Avenue by Troika Group.
Located at 554 Leon Ave., Upper Avenue is scheduled for completion and occupancy in June 2014. The project will be a jewel in Kelowna-owned Troika’s commercial development crown; offering up to 40,000 square feet of space and on-site parking, in a five-story, concrete, steel and wood frame building.
“A vibrant city centre is critical to the success of the business community, and we’re excited to contribute to Kelowna’s revitalization by developing a contemporary, new commercial space that will provide another option for organizations that want to do business in the downtown core,” says Troika CEO Renee Wasylyk.
Just one block south of Bernard Avenue and a short, five-minute walk from Okanagan Lake, Upper Avenue includes bike storage for tenants and a rooftop terrace. There are no set interior design plans as Troika is building out the space to meet the requirements of individual tenants.
Even before construction work began on the site, 60 per cent of the space in Upper Avenue was already spoken for. Troika Group will be moving its offices into the building, as will Procera Networks, the Fremont, California-based company well known to Kelowna residents as a result of its high profile purchase of successful local technology company, Vineyard Networks earlier this year.
“It was important to us to maintain operations downtown, and we’re working closely with Troika Group to create an incredible space for the Procera team,” says Jason Richards, senior vice president of global business development for Procera Networks and founder of Vineyard Networks.
Kelowna city councillor Colin Basran couldn’t be happier. “This project will create well-paying construction-related jobs and other economic spinoffs that will be felt throughout the community. The new building is also another example of the continued revitalization of the city’s downtown core, particularly in an area that, until recently, has not seen a lot of new development.”