Penticton city council is considering another hotel proposal near the South Okanagan Events Centre. (Submitted graphic)

Update: Hotel project forwarded to public hearing

The new hotel is proposed for four properties on Eckhardt Avenue.

Update:

The public will get their chance to weigh in on a new hotel project at an Aug. 15 public hearing.

Penticton city council has voted to start the ball rolling on a second hotel project on Eckhardt Avenue near the South Okanagan Events Centre.

“It’s great to see another hotel showing interest and the investment of creating an entertainment hub around the Events Centre paying off,” said Mayor Andrew Jakubeit. Council was unanimous in endorsing the project to move on to a public hearing.

The project will also require a transportation impact assessment. Anthony Haddad, director of planning services, said the Ministry of Transportation wants to examine the entrances on Highway 97, the proposed loading zone and the parking alignment.

“The Ministry did not have an objection to the development that is being proposed,” said Haddad, explaining that one of the main concerns is the intersection design, with the deceleration lane off Eckhardt into the proposed development.

The ministry is just requiring that some additional design work be undertaken, prior to that intersection being approved.”

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Penticton city council is considering its second hotel project application in as many months.

The new application is a four-storey, 75-unit hotel on four lots, kitty-corner from the South Okanagan Events Centre, land where a gas station formerly sat.

The proposed site is backed by the Penticton Golf and Country Club, and the existing Ramada Penticton is nearby.

Jessica Agur-Dolan, the general manager of the Ramada, said the new hotel may not bear the same brand when it is built, but it is an Agur family project.

“We are still in the planning phases of the brand. We are exploring options,” said Dolan, who doesn’t think having another hotel so close by will negatively affect the current hotel’s bookings.

“More, closer to us, always helps. We also have the Coast Penticton Hotel. If the Ramada is full, we can refer business to the next one,” she said.

Last month, Penticton city council green lighted a hotel application that would see Mundi Hotel Enterprises build a 95-suite hotel a few blocks away on Eckhardt Avenue, on the site now occupied by the Bingo Palace.

Related: Hotel proposal for bingo hall property moving ahead

Dolan said she thinks Penticton has enough visitors to sustain two new hotels. While the Agurs have had land available before, there hasn’t been a good opportunity. But tourism and industry growth in Penticton and the Okanagan are presenting a more viable scenario.

“The economy is looking good enough it makes sense to build another one for us,” said Dolan. “Being right beside the South Okanagan Events Centre and the new casino and close to the golf course doesn’t hurt.”

The construction value of the Agur hotel project is estimated to be around $10.3 million and will contribute about $79,000 a year in taxes to the city’s coffers. Current taxes on the properties generate about $6,300 a year.

The report from city staff speaks positively to the hotel project, indicating the area is suited for commercial densification.

“The transition from a petrol station and subsequent brownfield site to a brand new hotel in a strategic gateway location for the City of Penticton is another step in a positive direction for our community,” reads the report.

“Since our Ramada is on that same gateway, it is nice to have that entrance to Penticton be full and busy and beautiful. We’re happy about that too,” said Dolan.

If council approves the initial proposal, which was slated to be before city council after press deadline, the project will go to a public hearing at a future council meeting. Visit www.pentictonwesternnews.com for more on the council meeting.

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