An artist’s rendition of the proposed redevelopment of the former Surtees homestead and barn, along with a new commercial building, on the historic Lakeshore Road property in Kelowna.—contributed

Kelowna’s historic Surtees’ property gets a new life

City deal with developer allows heritage buildings on property to be redeveloped for commercial use

The City of Kelowna and a local developer have agreed to a deal that will see two buildings on a local heritage property fixed up for “adaptive re-use” and a new commercial building built under a 75-year lease.

The Surtees’ property on Lakeshore has been owned by the city since 2002 and the historic house and barn on the property were falling into disrepair.

The city’s deal with Worman Commercial (doing business as JEM HTB Properties Inc.) is for 0.69 acres of the site, which includes the former Surtees’ homestead and barn, buildings that date back to the early 1900s.

According to city staff, the Surtees’ barn is believed to be one of the most up-to-date barns in the area for its time, and the homestead (also known as the Ritz Cafe) is linked to the building of the Kettle Valley Railroad. Both buildings are identified on the city’s Heritage Register.

Worman plans to make the two heritage buildings, and a new 2,200-square-foot building to be constructed on the property, into a small commercial centre. The two houses and barn are to be redeveloped in manner that meets the heritage preservation objectives of the city, said staff.

Earlier this year, city council endorsed a plan to rehabilitate the two historical buildings through a Heritage Revitalization Agreement, allowing for commercial uses and the addition of the new building.

Under terms of the lease, Worman will pay $200,000 upfront—the total cost of the 75-year-lease. As part of the lease requirements, the developer will also pay for the operation and maintenance of the buildings and leased area of the property, including the public areas.

The developer will also grant a statutory right-of-way to facilitate public access through the leased portion, including to the Bellevue Creek park trail-head to be constructed in the future on the city-owned, non-leased portion of the Surtees’ property.