Leon Avenue’s long-anticipated redevelopment could become reality in the form of three sky-high towers proposed by a Vancouver company.
Venue Kings Ticket Brokers submitted its development proposal to the City of Kelowna last Thursday, revealing its plans to construct two towers at the intersection of Water Street and Leon Avenue and another across from Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.
At the southern corner of Water and Leon would be a 24 storey hotel with 216 units. Across the street would be two towers standing 30 and 42 storeys tall, housing a total of 600 residential units. The 42 storey building would become Kelowna’s tallest.
The taller two buildings would need height variances approved by council as the area is currently only zoned for buildings up to 26 storeys. The tallest building is 55.9m and 16 storeys taller than what the zone allows. The developer said in its proposal the towers match the city’s vision for the future of this zone as outlined in the Official Community Plan.
A mass timber bridge would be built between the 24 and 42 storey buildings to provide a walkway over Leon Avenue.
The plans also outline a 748 stall, six-storey parking garage, as well as commercial and retail space. A variance would be required for the parking garage as it is a 239 stall shortfall based on the OCP. The developer feels fewer cars will be required as the building is in a central location in the city core with access to public transit and bike routes. The buildings would also have two large screens on the exterior for advertising.
City planner Adam Cseke said staff are still in the primary stages of the application’s review and it’s too early to tell whether it will be endorsed as is.
“We don’t lean one way or the other until we have all of the technical feedback from all of the departments and agencies,” he said.
Cseke said the towers are in an area that allows taller structures but whether the application moves forward depends on city departments’ assessment of the significant variances.
“With any height variance, it’s all about the details in terms of how it works with parking, the number of units, access issues, lane issues,” he said.
“There are a number of comments that will come from the city’s transportation and engineering departments. All of the variances are related.”
The parking variance and the two large screens are among what Cseke said city staff are most concerned about.
There is no set date for the proposal to go to the council.