Cultural District getting some Sole

A six storey development on St. Paul Street near the Cultural District is set to go ahead with some slight modifications.

The Sole development, proposed for what is now a vacant lot on St. Paul near Cawston Avenue, has been in the works for more than four years.

Two single family homes were demolished on the property in 2008.

The property was rezoned Central Business Commercial in 2010. At the same time, Development Permits were issued.

At the time, the building was designed to house commercial retail space on the bottom two floors and residential on the top four.

Council was asked to approve an amendment to the original Development Permit to convert the third floor from residential to commercial use.

This entails three major changes:

  • Commercial square footage increases from 3,941 square feet to 13,300 square feet
  • Residential units decreasing from 54 units to 40
  • Third floor converted from wood frame to concrete construction

Urban Land Use Manager, Danielle Noble, says the form and character of the building has also been altered to accommodate the change.

Council was unanimous in its support of the changes.

"I am very happy to see a development of a mixed use nature on this street. It's going to be very helpful for the Cultural District," says Councillor Robert Hobson.

"We would have liked to see more residential and less commercial but the market just isn't there for it. So, we have to applaud that the project is going ahead because not that many mixed-use and multi-family projects are going ahead."

Representatives of Edgecombe Enterprises told council, based on Monday's decision, construction could begin in the spring of 2013.

Signs have been up on site for quite some time touting residential units starting at $149,000.

After questioning from Mayor Walter Gray, developers indicated they are still planning to sell studio units for that price.

"When people say housing in Kelowna is too unaffordable we can point to St. Paul Street and your development," says Gray.

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