Kelowna council has moved a proposed downtown wine centre with a 625-person capacity to a public hearing.
The establishment proposed for the building at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Water Street would feature a 60-person wine bar, 150-person lounge, 60-person rooftop deck, a 300-person interpretive centre and a tasting room, a 30-person education centre and lab and a 25-person wine shop.
The building would encompass 1570-1580 Water Street. The location 1580 Water Street was constructed in 1908 as the offices of the newspaper the Kelowna Courier. The paper continued to occupy the building until 1957 when the business moved its current location on Doyle Avenue. From that point, the building hosted a series of businesses, including, most recently, the Keg restaurant.
Two years later 1570 Water Street was constructed to house a Chinese restaurant on the ground floor with living quarters above. That building has changed hands numerous times over the years, serving as an extension to the Keg at one point, but most recently the building housed La Lupita, a Mexican restaurant.
The 625-person total capacity is in excess of the city’s bylaw — which currently allows only 500 people at bars and nightclubs downtown. The same policy calls for a 250-metre separation between “large establishments” with over 249-person capacities. The four locations would be in breach of that policy near the proposed wine centre.
“However, it is important to note that these policies were intended primarily for nightclubs and bars where late-night alcohol consumption is the main focus of the venue,” read city staff’s report.
Due to the size of the building, the city will have a full consultation with the RCMP before the establishment’s liquor licence will be granted.
The establishment’s proposed hours of operations have not yet been revealed, prompting some concern from Coun. Gail Given due to its proximity to nightclubs in the area.
“The hours of operation will be important to me, as we have lots of challenges at bar flush time,” said Given. “But it sounds like this is something totally different.”
Mayor Colin Basran shared his excitement for the project as council unanimously voted to send it to a public hearing.
“This has the potential to be something very exciting and something different for our downtown,” he said.
The operator of the proposed facility has not yet been identified, though in renderings of the building the name ‘Iconic Wines’ appears on the facade.
To report a typo, email: