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Highrises a big (and tall) part of 'The University Effect'

It's revolutionary, vanguard, visionary, game-changing, ground-breaking, seminal, unprecedented and neoteric.

Ok, I had to look up neoteric.

It means fresh, modern and new.

It's 'The University Effect' in downtown Kelowna.

"I don't think the average person realizes yet just how game-changing UBCO's downtown 'vertical campus' is going to be," said Shane Styles, president of Epic Real Estate Solutions.

"The university and 'The University Effect' will only make downtown more dynamic and desirable and encourage more and more development."

</who>Shane Styles is the president of Epic Real Estate Solutions.

Styles knows of which he speaks.

He heads up Epic Real Estate Solutions, which is marketing the 36-storey ONE Varsity condominium tower that will be built across the street from the 43-storey UBCO campus and student residence skyscraper going up at the corner of Doyle Avenue and St. Paul Street.

"I know the university development pushed us to bring ONE Varsity to market sooner than planned," said Styles.

"Timing is key. We'll start construction next year and complete in 2027, the same time the UBCO tower will be finished. Having a residential tower (ONE Varsity) across the street from the university is a winning formula."

</who>This drawing shows what the 36-storey ONE Varsity condominium tower will look like.

The 43-floor UBCO 'vertical campus' will be Kelowna's tallest building and have classrooms and offices in the bottom 10 storeys for the schools of nursing, social work and health, the Institute for Healthy Living & Chronic Disease Prevention, Canadian Institute for Inclusion & Citizenship and the Wine Research Centre and UBC vice-president of research.

The upper floors will be student residences.

"More than 1,000 people will be coming and going each day from this campus," said Styles.

"Combine that with everything else that's going on downtown and how close the Innovation Centre and Interior Health headquarters are and you have a real catalyst for growth."

While the name ONE Varsity sounds like it's affiliated with the university, it's not.

It's simply capitalizing on a name and proximity to the UBCO tower and hopping on 'The University Effect' bandwagon.

"There shouldn't be any confusion," said Styles.

"ONE Varsity is not a student residence, but a highrise residential community that may see some UBCO faculty and staff buy condominiums. Or, parents of students may buy a unit so their child can live there while going to school. Or, investors will buy and rent to a student. Or, people will buy to have a condo as a urban summer home or a forever home."

</who>This rendering shows what a ONE Varsity condo interior could look like.

Styles expects 40% to 50% of buyers to be from the Lower Mainland, 30% from the Okanagan, 20% from Alberta and 4% from Toronto.

"Even just seven years ago, Kelowna didn't have the economy it does now," said Styles.

"Downtown is vibrant. People are more open to highrise living because they want to be in the middle of it all. They want ease of living. And a downtown, highrise condo is a great alternative to a single-family home for some people, especially when the cost of a single-family home is out-of-reach for many."

Final prices haven't been set, but ONE Varsity is expected to be "approachable," according to Styles, with studios starting in the high-$300,000s and the one-bedroom, one-bedroom with den and two-bedroom units under $1 million.

</who>This drawing shows what the 43-storey UBCO tower downtown will look like with two other proposed towers to the left.

Kelowna-based Mission Group also recognizes 'The University Effect' and plans to build a 17-storey office building and 30-storey condo and rental apartment tower on St. Paul Street beside UBCO's 'vertical campus.'

Mission Group is already a highrise leader in the city with the 25 and 20 storey Brooklyn and Ella condos, respectively, downtown, the 35-storey Bertram condo and 17-storey Block office building under construction downtown and Aqua on the lakeshore beside the Hotel Eldorado about to start construction on 17, 15 and 13-storey condo towers.

ONE Varsity, which is expected to have a total project worth of more than $200 million, is being overseen by four developers -- Chilliwack-based Kerkhoff Construction, North American Development Group, New Generation Properties and bbf: (Build Better Future).

Kerkhoff has lots of highrise experience in Kelowna as the builder of the city's current tallest building -- the 36-storey ONE Water Street East condo tower -- the 29-storey ONE Water Street West condo and the 21-storey 1151 Sunset condo.

Kelowna is having a highrise explosion.

Twenty-five buildings of 10 storeys or more already pierce the skyline and at least 30 more are under construction or planned.

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