Ellis St. apartment approved

A six-storey, 48-unit apartment building proposed on Ellis Street in Penticton will go ahead as planned after council members voted unanimously to approve the development on Tuesday night.

The apartment's location, between the Penticton Chamber and Ooknakane Friendship Centre, is currently five separate parcels of land, and the developer will need to consolidate the five lots before a building permit is issued.

The apartment will be worth an estimated $15 million according to city staff's report. It is also located within the downtown's economic impact zone, meaning owners will be given a 10-year waiver on municipal taxes on construction value — not including the RDOS, school and hospital taxes.

"This is the type of development I'd like to see more of," Coun. Max Picton said. His reasons included one ground-floor commercial unit, two live-work units and 52 parking spaces being part of the plan, as well as curb appeal.

"I think Ellis Street is going through a real exciting redesign right now, and this fits perfectly with it."

Planning manager Blake Laven said there is a "strong business interest" in the vicinity, noting several businesses have opened nearby on Ellis Street in the past four years including Cannery Brewing, Mile Zero Wine Club, Hoodoo Adventures and others.

Coun. Judy Sentes called the lot a challenging space, and credited the developer's "willingness to work with what the city needs."

In staff's report, Laven said the apartment's height could cause a negative impact to homes on Van Horne Street, which border the property to the east. On the contrary, Laven said the building meets objectives the city has laid out to increase the population in the downtown core.

To be eligible for the economic impact zone program, a building permit will need to be issued to the developer by Mar. 1, and construction will need to be complete by the end of 2019.


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