A five-storey building proposed for a "low-profile" waterfront neighbourhood could be just the first of many changes coming to the area.

Council on Monday will give initial consideration to what would be the tallest building in Manhattan Point, a triangle-shaped area with a mix of older homes and waterfront estates in the downtown north end.

"With the recent closure of the Tolko mill, it is anticipated that there will be significant redevelopment in this area," Kelowna architect Jim Meiklejohn writes in a rezoning application to the city.

The look of the five-storey, 10-suite project is said to be inspired by the famous area of New York for which the point is named. "We designed the building to have a timeless NY Manhattan apartment form," the rezoning application states.

Municipal planners will recommend council advance the proposal to a public hearing, saying densification of Manhattan Point may be desirable.

"Though this remains a low-profile neighbourhood, it is in relatively close proximity to the downtown urban centre," with employment, amenities, and shopping opportunities nearby, planners write in a report to council.

But planners suggest the height of the new building should be restricted to three storeys. As currently proposed, planners say, the project "fails to respond appropriately to neighbouring properties and is out of context with the surrounding area."

The property at 955 Manhattan Drive where the five-storey building is proposed sold in April 2020 for $1.2 million, according to BC Assessment. At the time of sale, the half-acre property had a home built in 1930 on it.

There are about 70 properties in the Manhattan Point neighbourhood, about half of which are on the waterfront. Those properties have values of between $1.5 and $3.2 million.
Prior to the construction of the Okanagan River drainage channel in the 1950s, fluctuating levels of Okanagan Lake often led to marshy conditions in the low-elevation Manhattan Point neighborhood.
In the spring, residents sometimes had to rely on canoes to paddle out of the neighborhood, lifelong Kelowna resident Bill Knowles, who had a home in Manhattan Point, recalled in a book of reminiscences called According to Bill.