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Kelowna's Sunset Drive Eyesore Will Finally Be Built

A Kelowna eyesore that has been collecting dust, graffiti and all sorts of garbage will breathe life again thanks to an out of town development group.

Transients have littered the property at Lucaya (Photo Credit: KelownaNow.com)

The long forgotten Lucaya development on Sunset Drive has sat desolate since 2008 when the economic collapse hindered the process. Calgary based Lucaya Redux Corp. began building the 21 storey apartment complex but eventually stopped the process in October 2008 when it was unable to secure additional financing. Plenty of work had begun on the site before the economic crisis hit including pouring concrete for the foundation, an underground parkade was built as well, the first floor was well underway.

A construction crane sat on the property idle for three years, sometimes positioned over the nearby road, prompting complaints from residents. According to a City of Kelowna report from 2012, the property created a significant public nuisance and impacted negatively on residential developments and businesses. But according to Ryan Smith, Urban Planning Manager at the City of Kelowna, that headache will no longer be a problem.

Lucaya has sat covered in grafitti for years (Photo Credit: KelownaNow.com)

“We have heard from the developer and their representatives that they were interested in reviving the project and probably with a look that is substantially the same as what got underway in 2007-2008,” said Smith. “It’s a different developer from before, the new owner is a Chinese development company called the Jingon Development Group and they have their Canadian office in Richmond.”

The city has been in discussion with Jingon Development on and off for the last year about the property. Smith says they have been holding open some of the original building permits in hopes that someone would take over the defunct property and build it as it was originally planned.

An overview of the defunct property as it sits (Photo Credit: KelownaNow.com)

And that is exactly what will happen, well almost exactly, according to Marketing Manager Don Warkentin of Fortune Marketing.

“The reason the development group waited until now to do something is because they wanted to make sure the real estate market had turned in Kelowna,” said Warkentin. “It’s going to be a 21 storey tower which is the same as before, and presales will start about mid-April with construction starting in May. The building will be the same but the units will be smaller than they were before.”

Artist rendering of the Lucaya project (Photo Credit: Fortune Marketing)

Warkentin says it will be a combination of one bedroom and den and two bedroom units, and approximately 150 units total and it will take two years for construction to be completed. The developers are expecting the building to be completed by spring 2017. The company is still in the process of pricing out the units but expects they will start at around $225,000.

“It’s great from our perspective to see a number of developers come back in,” adds Smith. “With this one potentially getting rolling again and the Aquillini Group who is completing their purchase of the SOPA project in South Pandosy, to see some of these projects which have been stalled temporarily to see them come back to life and get rolling is great.”

Artist rendering of the Lucaya project (Photo Credit: Fortune Marketing)

Earlier in the week it was announced that the SOPA Square development would be going to the Aquillini Group out of Vancouver, yet another Kelowna building that never saw completion because of the 2008 economic crisis.



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