(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

Historic BC Tree Fruits head office in downtown Kelowna for sale

The company’s CEO said the decision was necessary due to a fickle fruit market

An iconic historic building in downtown Kelowna is soon to be listed for sale.

The BC Tree Fruits Cooperative, based at 1473 Water Street, today (Sept. 24) confirmed their building will be sold. The building currently serves as the cooperative’s head office.

A recent strategic review of assets by the cooperative determined the sale of the Water Street property was in their best interest.

The company’s top brass admitted it was not an easy decision to make.

“It was a very difficult decision… it is an iconic building,” said Warren Sarafinchan, Chief Executive Officer of the BC Tree Fruits Cooperative. “The cooperative is in the process of transforming our business, and it was a decision that was necessary.”

Since 1936, BC Tree Fruits Cooperative has been packing, marketing and selling fruit in Canada, in the U.S., and some international export markets. The company’s packing house has been in the Okanagan valley for decades. Their Water Street building was built in 1946 as the new premises for B.C. Tree Fruits Ltd., which had outgrown its space in the Mill Avenue Building across the street at 1470 Water Street.

According to the City of Kelowna’s heritage registry website, this building was erected “reflecting the prosperity of the industry” during what is considered the ‘Golden Age’ of the Okanagan fruit industry.

(Story continues below)

(Google Maps image)

The group intends to list the property on the market imminently, but as of Thursday couldn’t confirm the future listing price. Sarafinchan admitted he has been ‘shocked and overwhelmed’ at the interest they have seen so far.

He pointed to a fickle fruit market which has spurred the need for decisive decision making.

“It comes as no secret the returns that our growers have seen in recent years are in some cases below cost of production. We need to find solutions to that. There are decisions that are necessary, and we’re making those.”

Sarafinchan said they have been looking at revenue, costs, which facilities they need, and those that they don’t, in order to, “make sure there is a future for the cooperative and the growers that we support.”

READ MORE: Smoky conditions, worker shortage threaten Okanagan apple harvest

Fruit growing, he said, is an important part of the Okanagan community, and while they do need to change and transform, they, “certainly intend to continue to be a part of the community, and we’re working very hard with our growers and other industry stakeholders to ensure we get to that new destination.”

As a result of the imminent sale, part of the cooperative’s staff have been moved to their packing house in Winfield. Others have been moved to an office on Sexsmith Rd. This move is set to be completed this week.

The City of Kelowna confirmed the Water Street building is registered for mixed-use, which could accommodate commercial and residential development. However, it is listed on the city’s heritage registry, which could potentially limit its development.

Those looking to develop it may need to apply at a municipal level to remove the building from the registry. That being said, the city explained that a building listed on the heritage registry is not as well-protected as one with a heritage designation bylaw, which the property does not possess. Although circumstances vary, these kinds of provincial bylaws can more strictly limit the types of alterations to a property.

As of July 1, 2019, the property is assessed at a value of $2,727,000 by BC Assessment.

READ MORE: Shuswap man ‘started to lose it’ after learning of lottery win

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Real estate

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. Government photo)
Kelowna Francophone school COVID-19 outbreak climbs to 5, mixture of students and staff

Health officer says situation evolving, spoke to possible closure, changes to provincial guidelines

Neil Fassina will become the new president of Okanagan College on April 1, 2021. (Contributed)
Okanagan College recruits new president

Current Athabasca University president Neil Fassina to replace Jim Hamilton on April 1, 2021

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).
Interior Health reports 12 additional COVID-19 cases

The total number of cases in the region is now at 644

Bull Mountain Adventure Park is located at 5000 Glenrosa Rd in West Kelowna. (Contributed)
West Kelowna’s Bull Mountain Adventure Park hopes to reopen in December

Owner Don Journeay is eyeing the date of Dec. 19

Brian Shiosaki helps his neighbours by shoveling the sidewalk near his home in Rutland during a large snowfall in Kelowna Tuesday. (Carli Berry/Capital News)
Special weather statement in effect for Okanagan Valley

The Okanagan could see up to 15 centimeters of snow on Friday

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

RCMP detachments across B.C. are now flying Pride flags. (Submitted photo)
Man who spent 4 days injured on floor rescued by Kamloops Mountie

The man is recovering in hospital after being rescued by a police officer conducting a well-being check

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A fundraiser for the Falkland Community Church is underway. (Photo submitted)
COVID-19 leaves Falkland Church in a lurch

Annual event/major fundraiser cancelled for first time in 34 years

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

The Vernon School District reports 95 per cent of its students have returned to classrooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
Fewer local, more international students help cover one Okanagan school district’s $1.2M enrolment deficit

School district projected 13 fee-paying international students; 43 enrolled

Most Read