A lease agreement on the former RCMP precinct site in downtown Kelowna has been finalized.
RISE Commercial Developments has rented the land with the intention to construct a large mixed-use project at 350 Doyle Avenue, directly across the street from Kelowna City Hall.
The City of Kelowna will receive $7 million for the 80-year lease, $4.3 million of which will be invested into the site to develop a new civic plaza, art walk extension, and 6,000 square feet of community amenity space.
Graham Hood, the city’s strategic land development manager, said the reinvestment will allow the city to achieve key goals set out in the Civic Precinct Plan — a guiding document for growth in the area — “without a direct impact on taxation.”
“We’re seeing exciting new elements on the horizon as downtown Kelowna continues to grow in step with our city,” said Hood. “With many new residential units in the pipeline to strengthen downtown housing needs and a new downtown UBC Okanagan campus being developed, adding to our renowned waterfront parks, active transportation corridors and eclectic food and beverage and retail sector, this development is another step in ensuring downtown Kelowna is an attractive place to live, work and play into the future.”
The city is currently investigating whether it could implement a “creative hub” within the community space, designed to accommodate a range of creative activities. A report on that space will be presented to city council upon completion later this year.
Among “major next steps,” the city says, is the future of the Kelowna Community Theatre. Currently, the site is earmarked for a future performing arts centre with “signature architectural design elements.”
The city said its analysis of the site shows it can accommodate a larger auditorium and more extensive front- and back-of-house amenities. Money in the 2021 budget is designated to research potential avenues of funding and partnerships.
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