The final stage of the Central Green project has received the go-ahead from Kelowna City Council.
The approval of two six-and-a-half-storey buildings, located at the corner of Richter Street and Harvey Avenue, marks the end of a saga spanning more than a decade that saw several different design ideas come forward.
The two new buildings are set to contain 214 residential units, bringing the entire Central Green project to a total of 748 homes across its six buildings.
Formerly, the site housed the first iteration of Kelowna Secondary School, the largest school in the Okanagan. The school was demolished in the mid-2000s, and the property sat empty for several years until the Al Stober Group purchased the land in 2014.
Initial plans called for the buildings to be 12 storeys high, which were nixed due to soil conditions. With the shorter buildings, Stober Group also slashed the amount of office space and due to traffic concerns, leaving the project with fewer commercial and retail spaces than initially planned. Multiple translations and variations were made, with the project ending up as something far from the family and community hub previous councils had envisioned.
According to Coun. Charlie Hodge, who cast the lone dissenting vote against the project, it “lacks the wow-factor” he was hoping for on the “iconic corner.”
Though the proposal now looks much different than plans that came forward initially, the intention was ultimately met.
“The big win here was to get people living in the downtown area,” said Coun. Luke Stack. “This fulfills the vision that we had.”
Construction is expected to begin later this year.
Central Green will eventually be connected to downtown Kelowna by a pedestrian bridge. An update on that project should come across councillors’ desks in the first half of 2021.
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