New hope for SOPA Square is on the horizon.

New hope for SOPA Square is on the horizon.

Something’s afoot with SOPA square

The future of one of Kelowna's most stagnant developments is starting to look a bit less dire.

The future of one of Kelowna’s most stagnant developments is starting to look a bit less dire.

The Aquilini group and Ernst and Young, have entered into an agreement that will see the Aquilinis acquire SOPA Square on Pandosy Street for a price of $29.5 million.

According to a representative from Ernst and Young, the agreement has been brought to court for approval, and a decision should be rendered by the end of the week.

If the court approves then Ernst and Young, as the building’s receivers, will conduct a process that  see them shopping for a higher purchase price for somewhere in the area of four to eight weeks.

If they don’t find anyone offering more than the $29.5 million, then they can close on the Aquilini deal.

That option isn’t one that some of the creditors of the thus-far-failed project are interested in seeing come to fruition and they’re opposing the sale, holding out for something that could better meet their financial demands.

Given that it’s far from being a done deal, a representative from the Aquilini Group was cautious in making any projections on how or when the project will be finished.

“We’re very optimistic, we’d love to finish the project,” said Kevin Hoffman, Senior Vice President of Development and Construction. “It’s a great location and would be a great place to live.”

SOPA Square isn’t the only Kelowna project in its portfolio. A Bernard Avenue project named 24 Kelowna has been on the books for years, but is currently on hold because of market conditions.

Hoffman said they’re optimistic that those conditions are improving, and Kelowna will soon display appetite for both projects.

First up, if all goes well, will be SOPA Square, due to the fact it already has two floors completed.

Whether the development will be as grand as originally pitched remains to be seen, also.

“We would look at possibly tweaking some of the floor plans and the unit mix, but substantially it would be the same,” he said.

SOPA Square was first approved for construction by the city in 2008. It was to have 48 townhouse units and 51 condominiums, as well as 40,000-square-feet of commercial and retail space on the ground level and 14,000-square-feet of office space on the second floor.

The planned mixed-use development once touted as a potential anchor for the South Pandosy commercial area,  The original cost was estimated at $70 million.

Troubles for the developer started early on, as there was a  lengthy delay in starting work on the project. Then safety concerns about one of the cranes on the site shut down construction work for awhile.

The original developer ran out of money and after sitting idle for a while, the project was revived when a second developer took over.

They later stepped out of the development leading to the most recent series of events.


Kelowna Capital News