Appelt Developments and Wexford Developments revised building for 350 Doyle Ave. (Conceptual rendering/Zeidler Architecture)

Appelt Developments and Wexford Developments revised building for 350 Doyle Ave. (Conceptual rendering/Zeidler Architecture)

Legacy Group lashes out again at proposed building on former Kelowna RCMP site

Kelowna Legacy Group wants a formal investigation into the development and lease.

This story has been updated to include comments from the City of Kelowna.

A proposed doubling in height for a building planned for the old Kelowna RCMP site has drawn criticism from a group opposed to the project.

Kelowna Legacy Group (KLG) is asking for a formal investigation into the development and a pause of the lease that goes with it.

KLG, which formed in October 2019, after a Request For Proposals (RFP) for the property at 350 Doyle was put out by the city, was critical of the development from the beginning. It launched a website and released a video showing how the area could be developed.

A statement released today (May 31) from KLG says the successful applicant, Appelt Developments, and partner, Wexford Developments, have been awarded use of the city-owned land in exchange for a relatively small monthly lease of approximately $2,300 per month for 88 years with a review and adjustment at that time for another 19 years.

The developer initially proposed the maximum 13-storey tower as stipulated in the RFP, but it exceeded several of the city’s planning and development requirements as well as cast large shadows on surrounding buildings which the City of Kelowna’s reports had been attempting to prevent in other new projects. The statement went further and questioned whether the “13-storey requirement was destined to fail, or was it a bait and switch.”

KLG also questioned whether the “mayor and council were fooled by the bait and switch, or whether they were aware that this was going to happen when the bidder won the initial RFP.”

Now they (the developers) say they cannot make the project feasible without concessions by the community and substantial variances. A revised proposal was recently put forward by the developers that increase the building to 25-storeys. The KLG statement questions whether the process should go back to the beginning with concessions offered to all developers.

The developer in this case had a submission consistent with their original proposal, explained Ryan Smith, director of planning and development at the city.

“They went out and did their public consultation,” he said. “What came back loud and clear was lots of concern about the bulk of their 13-storey building, and there was a suggestion that maybe they build a taller, more slender tower that obstructed views less.”

Smith added the revised development has fewer dwelling units and while it doesn’t meet what was originally submitted in the RFP, it will go through the proper council process.

“I don’t think there is a bait and switch going on,” said Smith. “I think a bait and switch would be if the developer built something different than council approved.”

Smith also said the developer has tried its best to respond to concerns it heard from neighbours regarding the building blocking views and casting shadows, particularly on the extension of the Artwalk which is to be built by the developer.

“The ArtWalk will probably get sun more quickly during the day with this building than with the 13-storey version. Regardless of the tower above, that’s probably the main focus of this that the developer design and implement something that is high quality and the best for the community.”

Read More: Lease finalized for redevelopment of former Kelowna RCMP precinct

Read More: Legacy Group won’t give up on former Kelowna RCMP site despite lease agreement


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