The Okanagan Centre for Innovation won’t be home to a private rooftop bar, but it won’t be a dead space either.
City council put the brakes on plans that would allow the tech hub to have a liquor primary facility on the roof of the soon-to-be-completed building in downtown Kelowna when it was first brought to them, so now the people behind the innovation hub are headed back with a new plan.
“Based on community feedback and apprehension regarding possible OCI rooftop operations we have decided not to proceed with the contemplated liquor primary rezoning application and have decided instead to proceed with the current zoning as C7,” reads a letter to city staff signed by Jeff Keen.
“We will also be revising our liquor primary submission and the provincial government to reflect food primary.”
The developer is currently in the process of building an additional 500 square feet of enclosed space for the rooftop cafe, for the space to be called perch.
“Perch is an upscale venue and outdoor patio area located on the rooftop of the Okanagan Centre for Innovation,” wrote Keen.
“Perch will provide food and beverage service, table, bar and soft seating, amplified music and catering services. Perch along with the entire rooftop can be booked for corporate events, weddings and private parties; again all operational activities will comply with time and noise bylaws that pertain to a c7 food primary zoning.
“Beautifully architected and intentionally designed, visitors to Perch will enjoy breathtaking views of the city surrounded by stunning finishes.”
All of it, reads the application, is aimed at “inspiring visitors to connect, collaborate and share in an incredibly welcoming, comfortable and encouraging environment.”
According to city staff, the revised perch atop the Innovation building represents a simpler version of the original considerations in 2014.
It’s unclear how this will go over with residents of the Madison residential building across the street who expressed dissatisfaction with the original plan.
When the issue was brought up at a previous city council meeting it prompted a lengthy discussion about private verses public space in the new building, which is built on land leased to KSIG by the city and includes a $6 million investment from the province. Several councillors said they could not support the request to add 500-square feet of usable space on the rooftop for a privately run restaurant and patio—not without knowing what the final plan was for the space or knowing what it would look like.
Thus its return.
The 106,000-square-foot building, billed as a showcase structure that will house tech companies, start-ups, non-profit groups and innovation companies, is already well behind the original building schedule.