After more than 20 years of planning, the Kelowna Yacht Club has broken ground on a large new $9 million clubhouse on the downtown lakeshore.
Following on its recent $2.5 million expansion of its marina, which made it the largest yacht club marina in North America with 1,000 boat slips, the KYC will build a sparkling new 24,000-square foot clubhouse on the north side of its existing 7,500-foot aging facility.
The planned two-storey building, designed by local firm Meiklejohn Architects, will include a public restaurant, an additional 2,300-feet of deck and patio space, a banquet room that will be available for public rental, teaching facilities for the club, offices and other rooms on the first floor and member-only facilities on the second floor.
“It’s part of the long-term vision that the city has had for this area,” said KYC commodore Elton Ash of the new building
He added the money to pay for the new club house was raised through the KYC membership, which already totals 1,300. The club plans to expand that number to 1,475 by next next summer.
The new building will be built on the site of the former Water Street Seniors’ Centre, which was torn down earlier this year to make room for the new building.It was replaced by the city with a new seniors’ centre located beside the Parkinson Recreation Centre.
Mayor Walter Gray said once the existing yacht club building is demolished—likely in the summer of 2014— the city will expand Jim Stuart Park right up to the edge of the new building. In the meantime, the city will improve the lakefront walkway that runs in front of the site.
“This really is an exciting day for the city,” said Gray Tuesday during the ceremonial bround-breaking. During the event, Ash operated a large earthmover while Gray stood outside the cab and waved to the crowd that gathered to watch.
The start of construction on the yacht club building is the latest in a string of projects downtown that City Hall says will help revitalize the area.
The ongoing $14 million revitalization of Bernard Avenue, coupled with plans for a new highrise to house as many as 1,000 Interior Health employees, an expansion of the existing Library Parkade and the planned construction of a new parkade beside Memorial Arena, the expansion of Stuart Park, construction of a new public pier and commercial marina at the foot of Queensway and plans several private commercial and residential developments are all seen as keys to restoring downtown to its previous place of prominence in the city.
The new yacht club building is slated to open July 1, 2014, said Ash.
The decision to settle on the former seniors’ centre site came after several other proposals were made for its location, he said, including one that would have seen it built over the water in front of its exiting location.
Jim Meiklejohn, who lead the team that that designed what he called an “iconic” building, said from the south and west sides it will have a sweeping style reminiscent of a ship, while the facades on the north and east sides will be more urban in nature to reflect the brick-fronted provincial court house across the street.
“There is no back view of this building,” he said.
Meiklejohn said his company, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, was acutely aware it was designing a showcase building for Kelowna, given its location on the downtown waterfront , He said the designers wanted to make a statement with this building and he feels they succeeded.