Plans for an ambitious wine centre at the former Keg on Water Street have been scuttled

New plans for old Keg

It's been nearly two years since there was any activity on the site of the former Keg restaurant at Water Street and Lawrence Avenue in downtown Kelowna.

The only movement in the foreseeable future will be the removal of a crane which has been on site since demolition of the site began in early 2021.

The Mark Anthony Group, which owns Mission Hill Family Estate Winery among other properties and brands, had plans for a large redevelopment of the 113-year-old building.

They got approval in 2020 for a new two-storey building to accommodate a wine bar, lounge, roof top deck, interpretive centre and tasting room, education centre and lab, and a wine shop.

Total capacity would be for 625 people including a 60-seat rooftop patio.

Work on the site stopped after demolition of the previous building in the summer of 2021. At the time, planning director Ryan Smith said the Mark Anthony Group were taking a second look at the design to possibly add on to the original two storeys.

Now, Smith says all previous plans have been scrapped and a new design will have to be prepared.

"They couldn't secure the liquor licensing for the other project which pushed them into the change," said Smith.

"That's not breaking news by any means, the only new part is they are going to be taking down the crane."

That means they will have to go back to square one and go through the city's planning process and get approval from city council.

Smith says while the site will remain silent, the iconic front facade will remain standing, supported by scaffolding.

Ian Galbraith, vice president of the Mark Anthony Group, confirms they are working on new plans for the property.

"We continue to work with the City of Kelowna and local licensing agencies as we look for ways to enhance the design of the site with an innovative concept that will add to the downtown core," he said in an email to Castanet.

"Once plans are available, we will be happy to share them with the local community."

The building was originally erected in 1910 and originally housed a Chinese food restaurant.

Any plans for the site must include retention of the facade. Smith doesn't expect anything new until the latter part of the year.

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