Retail and office space is at a premium in downtown Kelowna.
The 3,500 square foot Arc’teryx store set to open next summer at the corner of Water Street and Bernard Avenue was one of the last large spaces still up for grabs.
“Bernard is pretty much full all the way except for in the 300-block there is what used to be the old bank that Westcorp owns, that they had a model suite built in for the building that they were going to build on Queensway. And that’s currently up for lease. So other than that, on Bernard everything is leased,” says Downtown Kelowna Association executive director Mark Burley.
It’s a similar story at The District on Bernard, where the shopping centre is over 90 per cent leased.
“We have very few opportunities in both the office and the retail parts of the building. We’re getting lots of interest and it’s been very exciting and we’ve had a great run of different businesses, retailers, offices wanting to be part of the growth and excitement downtown,” said Keenan Fisher, managing partner at MKK Property Corp, which owns The District on Bernard.
So, what’s drawing investors to Kelowna’s core? Fisher and Burley say there are a few key factors.
“There’s so much exciting growth downtown with all the density being added and the new businesses and restaurants. People want to be a part of that environment and their businesses want to,” notes Fisher.
Burley points out that when projects like Water Street by the Park and Bernard Block are completed, there will be even more vibrancy downtown.
“But also, those buildings are creating opportunities for people to move and put their businesses downtown.
“If you look at what One Water Street looks like right now, it’s full of business on the ground floor including dentistry, coffee shop, restaurants. That’s great and I expect that same thing is going to happen here on Bernard, once the Mission Group is done with their office building and residential up at St. Paul and Bernard,” He said.
The growth in residential density will also likely spur upgrades to other anchor stores, like Safeway and Shoppers Drug Mart.