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More proposed high-rises could transform Kelowna’s skyline

From the tech industry to the university, Kelowna has seen plenty of change over the past ten years.

However, the next decade will likely change how the city’s skyline physically looks more than ever before.

<who> Photo Credit: The City of Kelowna.

Several prominent high rises about to begin construction in Kelowna’s downtown core and city council will be considering even more development permits before the year’s end.

“We are currently receiving a high amount of interest in high-rise type development,” said City of Kelowna Urban Planner, Terry Barton.

“I do not believe at any time in the last 10-15 years has interest in high-rise development been greater than it is now.

“It's attributed to a number of reasons, including Kelowna’s economic development cycle as well as the city’s intentions to grow up and contain urban sprawl.”

According to Barton, as many as 11 downtown locations are being considered for future high-rises including the Daily Courier property, the former RCMP site and the Mission Group’s recent acquisition of the property on the corner of Bernard Avenue and St. Paul Street.

However, the desired height of condominiums around the city has been a hot topic of late.

Council recently engaged in a lengthy discussion with Central Green’s developers after the decision was made to redesign the original towers into five-storey buildings.

Below is a rendering of the three towers originally planned for Central Green.

Originally proposed as three 18 storey towers, multiple members of city council grilled Central Green developer's redesigned plan of five-storey buildings.

Central Green will now feature five-storey buildings.

On the contrary, city planners recommended council not approve the development permit for Westcorp’s 33-storey downtown hotel.

The hotel was approved in a five to two vote despite city planners concerns the building was too high and ‘overwhelming’ for the waterfront property.

The 33-storey downtown hotel will be Kelowna’s tallest building, however, it could soon be joined by another building over 20-storeys.

“We have a rezoning application in front of us to grant the land use privileges for a portion of the property that is along St. Paul and they are looking at a 20 plus story high rise for the site,” said Barton.

The current home of the Daily Courier has been listed on the market and while no official application has been made the city will say a number of developers have taken a look at the property.

“The Courier site falls to the downtown building height map and that policy says that the building should be a mix of 12 stories but it's still early days.”

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