Construction of two new highrises in downtown Kelowna should start this fall now that city council has unanimously approved the Monaco project.
Developers are confident there will be strong market demand, both among local buyers and out-of-town investors, for the 289 condos and apartment hotel suites contained in the Monaco.
With an anticipated 2 1/2-year building timeline, residents should begin moving into the Monaco in early 2016. The project also contains four levels of retail and office space, as well as downtown's first daycare.
"Our company and local realtors are already getting calls from people interested in the Monaco," Tyler Dueck of Premier Pacific Properties said Wednesday. "There's a lot of optimism about Kelowna's future."
It's anticipated most of the suites in the Monaco will sell for between $300,000 and $500,000, making it relatively affordable by Kelowna standards.
Many of the buyers will likely be among the 1,000 employees of Interior Health who will be working in a few years out of a new administration and client service centre to be build directly south of the Monaco.
Tuesday's public hearing was the third time council had considered the project. It never before received first reading, largely because staff and councillors were concerned about what they said was too little separation between the two towers, which will be 30 and 22 storeys.
However, last year, Premier Pacific was able to buy an additional property to the north. That allowed for the distance between the two towers to be increased.
As a result, city planners switched their recommendation to a positive one, and councillors also embraced the $100-million Monaco project as helping achieve the city's goal of making the central core a more vibrant commercial area, and one with more permanent residents.
"It's very consistent with where we're going as a city, which is to densify town centres and get more people living in downtown Kelowna, downtown Rutland, and the South Pandosy area," Gray said.
However, the public hearing was not without controversy. Several people spoke against the project, arguing it would block views and saying the variances requested by the developer represented too great a departure from various city regulations.
But the city also received many supportive emails, particularly from downtown small business owners who look forward to the extra trade likely to come from having so many new residents nearby.