Hotel plan inches forward

Had everything gone according to plan, Kelowna's newest downtown luxury hotel would have been set to open in the spring.

However, delays have plagued the $230-million, 33-storey hotel and convention centre planned for the former Willow Inn site.

There have been delays due to design changes, concerns over a rising water table during 2017 flooding, and the latest setback when the province introduced the speculation tax in February.

Edmonton-based Westcorp, which is building the hotel, put plans to sell condos in the tower on hold until there was more clarity on the tax.

Gail Temple, Westcorp vice-president of operations, says the company is going ahead with construction of a presentation centre next month.

She says the location of that centre will be announced in the next few weeks, although it won't necessarily be located near the construction site.

"There are always logistical problems," said Temple.

"We want to do a couple of things. We want to build a presentation centre for the sale of the residences, but we also want to build a mock-up hotel suite (so we) can decide whether we have placed everything where we want to place it. That way you can show the trades the level of finishing you are expecting."

There will be 50 to 55 residences available for sale, and Temple says once a specific target is hit, they will be able to start construction.

That could begin as early as next fall.

With a 36-month build, the target opening of the as yet un-named hotel is early 2023.

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