At the end of the year, Kelowna’s oldest high rise will have new ownership for the first time in 40 years.
The 146-suite Kiwanis Tower, located at the corner of Gordon Drive and Lawrence Avenue, has been sold to the Kelowna Foundation for Hope and Social Innovation. The high rise, which it was the first of in Kelowna, has been owned and operated by the Central Okanagan Kiwanis Community Service Society Board since it opened in 1976. After four decades, the decision to sell was based on Kiwanis’ focus shift to the needs of children and youth in the community.
“After more than 40 years of operating the Tower as one of our community projects, Kiwanis has come to the difficult decision that this project no longer fits with our mandate,” stated Bob Bissell, president of the Tower’s Board of Directors. “That said, we felt we could only sell the building to a purchaser who would continue serving our valued tenants with compassion and respect. We believe that the purchaser group is an ideal successor to us.”
The sale will be completed on December 31st of this year, and none of the current residents will be displaced.
“Like most urban centres, Kelowna is experiencing an increase in the number of people who, for various reasons, are having difficulty finding their place in our community,” said Laurence East, spokesperson for the Foundation and lead pastor for Metro Community, which is spearheading the Foundations plans. “The Kiwanis Tower, which has a legacy of care for its residents, provides and ideal opportunity to continue to provide local, practical solutions to some of the problems associated with social and economic alienation.”
The Foundation’s plans for the Tower include the establishment of a social enterprise centre, but first and foremost the new owners will meet with residents in the tower to understand what their needs are.
“Our mission is to care for community and we are thrilled at having an opportunity to extend that mission,” East described. “But for now, we are taking time to get to know the people who live in the tower and the surrounding neighbourhood who will be most interested in this transition. So it will be business as usual, at least for the next year.”