More commercial premises should be permitted in a new downtown Kelowna building zoned only for industry, a developer says.
The Vancouver-based firm behind a mixed-use project called Packers Junction on Clement Avenue hopes to change the allowable uses for part of the property.
Retail shops, financial services, health-related firms and liquor stores should be permitted in one of the development’s buildings that will front along Vaughan Avenue, PC Urban Properties says.
The City of Kelowna granted approval earlier this year for the overall project, in part, on condition that buildings on the property’s north side would have an industrial focus.
Such a condition, the city said, represented a good transition between the evolving commercial and residential nature of Clement Avenue with the more traditional industrial land uses in the blocks to the north.
But now, the company says it is having trouble attracting industrial firms to the Vaughan Avenue building at the prices being asked.
“During our marketing campaign, it has become apparent that many businesses desire more diversified allowed uses for the building fronting Vaughan Avenue,” PC Urban’s development manager, Shawn Oh, writes in a letter to the city asking for a change in the building’s allowable uses.
Prospective buyers of units in the building see how the area is changing, and they see more upside in commercial premises than industrial ones, Oh writes.
“They see the activity occurring on the Clement corridor and understand that the future environment will significantly change once the city’s vision in the 2010 official community plan is fully realized,” Oh writes.
“They see that the new demographic will have an appetite for demands that currently do not exist and want to guarantee that their space can accommodate those changes in the future,” Oh writes.
The company’s request to change the building’s allowable uses is now being considered by city planners. Any change in the designation would ultimately require city council approval.
When they approved the project, some councillors expressed their support for designating the Vaughan Avenue building as being for industrial uses only, as a way to preserve the largely industrial nature of that area of the downtown north end.
“I wouldn’t want this to be the slippery edge where all of a sudden we get a lot of interest in the industrial area for residential proposals,” Coun. Gail Given said in May 2018. “I would hate to see every one of our industrial lands being redeveloped.”