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  #1001  
Old Posted Feb 27, 2015, 2:05 AM
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SOPA construction this year

The SOPA Square project is back up and running with yesterday's announcement that the Aquilini Group has officially taken over the project.

Given the building was initially approved by the city in 2008, South Pandosy residents have long wondered if the grey shell of a empty building would ever be completed.

Vice president of Aquilini Development, Kevin Hoffman, says they hope to have sales start in a few months and construction starting by the end of the year.

“We are working on setting up a new marketing campaign right now, which we hope to launch later this Spring or early Summer,” says Hoffman. “We are also looking at the building itself now and trying to refine what was there and seeing if we can make things a little bit better.”

He says they are working with existing tenants and are optimistic about the high interest from others who would like to move their businesses into the building.

“Now that we are the owners of the building we can go ahead and work with those people to try to get the space occupied, make it a little bit more vibrant and look like it is lived in.”

He says it will take three or four months to get the showroom and sales going again and then construction start time will be based on its success.

“It will depend on how much demand there is,” says Hoffman. “But, our goal would be to start construction some time later this year. If things go really well that would be the plan.”

As for the building design, he says they are looking at all their options, but wouldn't comment on any changes that might be made.

“We are exploring that right now. We love the concept that was there, I think it just has to be refined.”

All investors that had previously purchased homes in the building had their deposits returned so Hoffman says they are starting with a clean slate.

Although Hoffman cannot talk numbers, he says the units will be priced to sell.

“I think we always do our best to price it aggressively so that we can make it a successful marketing camping, so ya it will definitely be an attractive offer in the Kelowna market."

Hofffman says there will be a range of unit offerings from 1-bedroom to 3-bedroom with different floor plan types.

“We are really excited to be in the Kelowna market again and we are happy and proud to be the new owners.”
http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna...tion-this-year
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  #1002  
Old Posted Feb 28, 2015, 1:08 AM
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Originally Posted by osirisboy View Post
Wtf. Does anything actually get built in this city??
That'd be a negative
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  #1003  
Old Posted Feb 28, 2015, 4:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Bcasey25raptor View Post
That'd be a negative
Other than strip malls of course.



Such a shame. The city is in a beautiful location, and some of the older neighbourhoods are actually really quite nice. So much potential squandered by poor urban planning.
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  #1004  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2015, 7:38 AM
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Kelowna 2015 Capital Projects have been announced. Overall it looks pretty good IMO. Wondering why the new South Perimeter road is not listed. Also wondering what is going on KLO Road & Mission Creek Bridge Upgrades at Spiers & Hall. Anyone know? I can't seem to find additional information on it.

2015 Capital Projects Map
2015 Capital Projects Presentation
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  #1005  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 3:40 AM
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Honestly, i feel Kelowna is not as bad as some of you make it out to be. Been there many times myself.

It does have urban design problems, and there is far too much sprawl throughout the valley eating farmland and grasslands on the hills, but the downtown core is decently nice, and they did add a lot of infill during the economic boom of the mid 2000s.

Since 2008 though Kelowna has been kind of cursed. The city has been proactive in trying to get taller / larger projects off the ground (look at all the projects already green lit now, Monaco, the two hotel towers, Sopa, etc...) but sadly everything seems to stall / fall through due to economic.

Hopefully this is the year where a little luck falls on Kelowna (hell, I would be happy with simply getting Sopa completed, along with getting Lucy going and maybe one of the two hotel towers going).
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  #1006  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2015, 7:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Metro-One View Post
Honestly, i feel Kelowna is not as bad as some of you make it out to be. Been there many times myself.

It does have urban design problems, and there is far too much sprawl throughout the valley eating farmland and grasslands on the hills, but the downtown core is decently nice, and they did add a lot of infill during the economic boom of the mid 2000s.

Since 2008 though Kelowna has been kind of cursed. The city has been proactive in trying to get taller / larger projects off the ground (look at all the projects already green lit now, Monaco, the two hotel towers, Sopa, etc...) but sadly everything seems to stall / fall through due to economic.

Hopefully this is the year where a little luck falls on Kelowna (hell, I would be happy with simply getting Sopa completed, along with getting Lucy going and maybe one of the two hotel towers going).
I agree that they've done a really nice job with the downtown core. The lakefront and area along Bernard St are both very well done, but I just find that if you fly into the city, by the time you've gone past all the strip malls getting to downtown, your impression of the city is already ruined. Same thing coming in from the connector with all the strip malls in West Kelowna.
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  #1007  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2015, 5:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Procrastinational View Post
Other than strip malls of course.



Such a shame. The city is in a beautiful location, and some of the older neighbourhoods are actually really quite nice. So much potential squandered by poor urban planning.
Or NO urban planning! Like you say beautiful location, great climate (for Canada) but the city has all the character of a Houston suburb.
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  #1008  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2015, 7:16 AM
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Payment deadline looms for Monaco's would-be builders



Previously-given municipal approvals for a major downtown project will expire next month unless the developer pays the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in required fees.

Proponents of the twin-tower Monaco project, which envisions nearly 300 suites and hotel rooms, aren't sure they'll come up with the cash before the April 23 deadline.

“It's a pretty tight timeframe for us,” Tyler Dueck of Premier Pacific Group, said Tuesday. “We're still intending to go forward with the project, but we're just plugging away on the financing and some engineering issues.”

City officials say they doubt the required payments, for parking-related issues and a landscaping performance bond, will be made by Premier Pacific. “I think we'd be surprised to see the project move ahead right now,” planner Ryan Smith said.

Council issued the development permit for the $100 million project in April 2013, on the developer's second-attempt to secure the necessary approvals. Plans for the Monaco show towers of 22 and 30 storeys at the corner of Doyle Avenue and St. Paul Street, directly north of where the new Interior Health centre is now under construction.

Plans also included four levels of retail and office space, as well as the downtown business core's first daycare. Originally projected to be finished in early 2016, the residential units were going to sell for between $300,00 and $500,000, the company said when council approved the project.

Councillors were excited about what they said was the Monaco's potential to convince hundred of Kelowna residents to move downtown.

“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,” then-mayor Walter Gray said.

If the required fees aren't paid by next month's deadline, the previously-given development permit would be taken off the city's books and it would be necessary for the company to begin the approval process all over again.

Dueck indicated the company would do so. “We'd have to put in another application, and we'd be interested in doing that. Nothing would change about the project from our end,” he said.

The company has not been shopping the site and its development approvals around to another builder, Dueck said.

He said the company believes there's enough demand in the Kelowna housing and real estate market to make the project viable. “We're quite happy with the market,” he said, adding many people have gone onto the company's website and registered themselves as prospective buyers of Monaco suites.

For now, the site is being used by dozens of downtown workers who are leaving their vehicles there all day in disregard of the No Parking signs.

Dueck said the Vancouver-based company is aware of the situation. But it hasn't entered into a site management contract with a parking contractor, he said, because it didn't want to see tickets being issued to people who work downtown and who may one day be interested in buying a suite in the Monaco.
http://kelownadailycourier.ca/news/a....html?mode=jqm
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  #1009  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2015, 6:56 PM
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SOPA Square redesign



Owners of the much delayed SOPA Square development in the South Pandosy district will have to go back to city council before resuming construction.

Aqualini Devlopment, a subsidiary of Aquilini Investment Group and owners of the Vancouver Canucks, purchased the development earlier this year for $29.5 million.

Since the purchase in January, the Aquilini's have been refining the design of the residential portion of the existing structure and floor plans.

The original plan approved by council several years ago called for a two-storey commercial podium with a nine-storey condominium tower and four-storey townhouse tower.

According to Subdivision Approval Manager Ryan Smith, the new plan now calls for a smaller townhouse tower and a larger condo tower.

Smith expects the new concept to come before council in about eight weeks. If given the go ahead, it will return to council for a public hearing, before getting final approval.

According to company spokesperson Karen Hussey, Aquilini intends to begin sales of residential units soon, with construction to recommence later this year.

Hussey said the start of construction will depend on sales, and units will be priced aggressively to allow construction to start at soon as possible.

New commercial tenants are also coming on board.

Hussey said The Canadian Brewhouse and Famosa Neopolitan Pizzeria are scheduled to open this month.

The company is optimistic that commercial space will be fully occupied.
http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna...quare-redesign
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  #1010  
Old Posted May 8, 2015, 2:59 PM
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Failed Monaco Project up for Court Ordered Sale

A court ordered sale has begun for a property in downtown Kelowna that is worth $6.5 million.

The Monaco development, located at the corner of Doyle and Avenue and St. Paul Street is up for sale at $6,537,470. According to the realtor listing, the medium to high rise mixed commercial use building was proposed as a “dream development” but it never came together.

The Monaco was a project was intended to consist of two towers, a 22 storey apartment hotel with a total of 289 suites and another 30 storey residential condominium.

At the beginning of March, Premier Pacific Group was confident they would be able to get plans in order to move ahead with the project. The development permit for the project was set to expire in late April, and the group was tasked with getting conditions in order to present to Kelowna City Council before then.

If the conditions were met in time, the City would have issued them a development permit, which would have allowed Premier Pacific Group to apply for a building permit.

It has been a long road for the Monaco project which had been in the works for nine years and was rejected by city council twice before finally receiving approval in April 2013. The land is now up for sale, and according to realtor Ken McLaughlin, the new buyers will have the option to create a new theme for the project and will not be restricted by the failed Monaco project.
http://www.kelownanow.com/watercoole...t_Ordered_Sale
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  #1011  
Old Posted May 9, 2015, 6:00 AM
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Well...that sucks, really liked the look of this project and it matched the feeling of the Okanagan.

Seems so strange to go through all of that (9 fucking years) and then just to do nothing....

Why is it so hard for Kelowna (and Nanaimo it seems) to get towers off the ground. It is not as if these are terribly depressed areas.

Oh well, at least there is still the good news about Sopa (and given the new owners, will most likely go ahead). The taller tower hinted in the article is a little exciting.

What about those two hotel proposals, any chance of either one of those actually going though. If anything you would think building hotels in Kelowna would be a good investment.
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  #1012  
Old Posted May 9, 2015, 10:34 PM
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The Westcorp hotel will undoubtedly go through. Sopa square is now moving ahead with a revised development application filed with the city. The other hotel is proposed by a credible developer. I think it's been obvious to most following the Monaco that it had very little chance of ever going ahead.
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  #1013  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 5:37 PM
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Pics of the new police services building available here:

http://www.kelownanow.com/watercoole...vices_Building
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  #1014  
Old Posted May 20, 2015, 1:13 PM
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Quote:
Monaco 'not dead yet'
by Wayne Moore | Story: 140236 - May 20, 2015 / 5:00 am

To quote Mark Twain, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

That would also apply to the proposed Monaco project which, according to the developers, is still very much alive and well.

Or at least on life support.

While a court ordered for sale sign is on the property, representatives of Premier Pacific said that should only be temporary.

"It's still very much alive for us," said corporate vice-president Tyler Dueck.

"We are still working away at it. It's a matter of finishing the financing side of things for the whole of the project."

Dueck said the sign went up after a loan came due that they were unable to pay at the time.

"There is a bit of an overlap between that and the construction financing coming through. That seems to be the problem.

I suppose it's not a surprise but it's something we are hoping to work around and get the financing in place because we are so close right now."

Once the construction financing comes through and the loan is paid Dueck said the for sale sign will come down and the project will move forward.

He expects that to happen with the next few weeks with construction to start sometime in the summer.

City council approved issuing of a development permit in April 2013. That permit expired a month ago meaning Premier Pacific will have to go back to council to have that permit reissued.

He expects to go back to council with the same plans as before which means a four storey podium with two towers of 2 and 30 storeys.

In the meantime, the company has to wait and hope nobody puts in a formal bid on the property before the rest of the financing comes in.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed and we're working as hard as we can to get going because we do believe in the project and we know that is one of the best pieces of land in the city. We certainly don't want to see that go."
http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna...o-not-dead-yet
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  #1015  
Old Posted Jun 26, 2015, 5:56 AM
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Stalled private hospital has Westbank band members, police asking questions about finances
By Marshall Jones & John McDonald



The site of the private for-profit hospital proposed for development on Westbank First Nation land.

FUNDING COLLAPSE; RECALL CAMPAIGN

WESTBANK FIRST NATION - Canada’s first private, for-profit hospital, slated for development on Westbank First Nation land, has stalled amid lost venture capital funding and criminal allegations and the political fallout could claim the band’s chief and councillors.

The Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre is a project the band announced with much fanfare in 2011. The high-end private medical facility was to provide a roster of surgical procedures for well-heeled clients in a resort setting on 20 acres of band land overlooking Okanagan Lake. Opening of the facility was originally scheduled for March, 2015.

Principles of the Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre limited partnership is a company called Ad Vitam and Westbank First Nation, which was to contribute land for the development. Ad Vitam’s role was to provide overall medical direction and raise the money to build the facility.

Ad Vitam principals Lyle Oberg and Mark McLoughlin say they are hopeful the project will proceed with a new funding partner, a process they say is already under way, however the future of the project appears to be in doubt, according to numerous interviews and documents obtained by infonews.ca.

A commitment letter from March 2013 shows that approximately $150 million for the Lake Okanagan Wellness Clinic was secured from Oxbridge Capital Group of Companies but that money was never advanced. The partners refuse to say when or why the funding stopped and a letter from the band, in response to questions posed by a band member, says the RCMP is investigating.

“The basis of the investigation is that Oxbridge has absconded with a sum in excess of $2 million where it had not earned those funds,” wrote WFN Council secretariat Kevin Kingston.

Several calls this week to Oxbridge have not been returned. Attempts to interview Chief Robert Louie were also denied, although he did issue an email statement. “The proposed medical centre project on WFN community-held lands adjacent to the WFN office are undergoing a master planning review with the membership currently and we have no updates for the public at this time.” Louie did not elaborate what the “master planning review” was.


An artist's rendering of the Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre.
Image Credit: Contributed

In February, band members took the rare step of engaging the band’s self-governance constitution to circulate a petition forcing chief and council to conduct an audit of the partnership and its business dealings. That audit was never completed. A report from accountant BDO says documents were not made available by Ad Vitam and could “provide no assurance as to the amounts being reported.” It quotes McLoughlin saying the documents were locked in Ad Vitam’s office in Estates Square in West Kelowna. Ad Vitam was evicted by its landlord because it stopped paying rent in October 2014.

A default judgment against Ad Vitam in favour of its landlord is registered in B.C. Supreme Court for nearly $150,000.

From the auditor’s report, it appears Westbank First Nation is on the hook for between $7.5 to $10.3 million in debts through mortgages and brokerage fees still owing to Oxbridge.

The band’s role in the Ad Vitam partnership was originally limited to providing only the land for the clinic — no cash. However to raise capital, the partnership secured a $7.5 million mortgage on those lands from Canadian Western Bank, and Ad Vitam stopped making payments toward the mortgage February 1. If the bands wants the lands back, the mortgage must be paid. The auditors report also notes another $2.8 million is owed to Oxbridge for brokerage fees, despite the loss of funds and the criminal allegations.

The band’s constitution states any expenditure over $500,000 requires a special membership meeting and a vote by the membership. Band members say neither of those occurred prior to taking out that mortgage or an earlier $2.5 million loan that was paid off by the $7.5 million mortgage.

Roxanne Lindley is one of many band members now questioning the entire project. Since the fall of 2014, she says there have been several acrimonious meetings with the band council trying to get information about the wellness centre development.

“There could be millions of dollars missing and they won’t tell us about it,” said Lindley. “If you screwed up, just tell us. We want them to be accountable.”

A second petition is now circulating among Westbank First Nation members calling for the removal of Robert Louie and the four sitting councillors, Chris Derrickson, Mic Werstiuk, Brian Eli and Mike De Guevara. It cites their failure to respond to the first petition by not producing a full and complete audit and “failure to disclose to all membership how the WFN Council proposed to repay existing and ongoing financial obligations resulting from (the partnership).”

“These breaches show a complete lack of transparency in the financial matters of the WFN, have nullified any accountability of their fiduciary duties (to) membership and through the blatant mismanagement of membership monies,” the petition reads in part.

It’s not known how many signatures are on the recall petition so far, which requires the signatures of 20 per cent of voting members. Just 72 signatures was sufficient to force the band to conduct the audit.

On Wednesday, Ad Vitam partner Lyle Oberg, a former MLA and cabinet minister in the Alberta provincial government, said it may have appeared last October the project was dead, however it is back on track.

“We are in negotiations on finishing the financing,” he said. “That has been the difficult part on the health centre.”

Neither he nor McLoughlin were aware of the petition to remove chief and council. In an interview, McLoughlin said he couldn’t disclose any information about new financing for the project because he is bound by a non-disclosure agreement. He said a unique project such as the wellness clinic should be expected to have “ebbs and flows” but he has no new timeline for its completion.

“We are hopeful to be able to have, over the next couple of months, some positive indications to be able share,” he said. “There is due diligence happening (but) we can’t get into the specifics. It is moving in a positive direction.”

Former WFN chief Noll Derriksan, who is backing the recall drive, said the band leadership is playing fast and loose with the constitution and governance policies.

“They aren’t supposed to spend more than $500,000 on anything without membership approval. Period. Yet here they are making transactions, moving money around that’s way more than that,” he said. “They can’t put a mortgage on that land without going to the people. And they didn’t do that.”
http://infotel.ca/newsitem/stalled-p...nances/it20717
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  #1016  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2015, 2:48 AM
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New Sopa Square Development Permit going to Council on July 14. The tower is proposed to be 14 stories in height which is 3 meters taller than the original proposal.







Full report to Council is here.
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  #1017  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2015, 3:00 AM
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From: http://www.castanet.net/news/Busines...le-begins-soon



Quote:
SOPA sale begins soon


The sale of residential units at the on-again, off-again SOPA Square development will begin July 18.

Aquilini Development a subsidiary of Aquilini Investment Group and owners of the Vancouver Canucks, breathed new life into the project when it purchased the development earlier this year for $29.5 million.

Homes are priced beginning at $282,900.

The company is announcing the sale date despite not having final approval to begin construction from city council. That approval is expected to be granted during a public hearing Tuesday.

The hearing is needed to adopt zoning changes and changes to the development and development variance permits.

"The zoning (council) are being asked to adopt on Tuesday night is for the surface parking lot behind the development. The development permit is for the form and character changes, and the development variance permit is for the height of the building," said subdivision approval manager Ryan Smith.

"They are taking height (two storeys) from one side of the building and adding (three storeys) it to the other side of the building."

A refinement to the design of the residential portion of the building and floor plans by Aquilini Development does not require approval by council. The detailed plan for the development will be unveiled on the 18th.

Pending council approval, Aquilini intends to begin construction of the condo and townhouse towers later this year, with an anticipated completion in the summer of 2017.

The commercial units are partially occupied, with The Canadian Brewhouse and Famosa Neopolitan Pizzeria scheduled to open this summer.

The company is optimistic the commercial space will be fully occupied.
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  #1018  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2015, 6:02 PM
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From: http://www.castanet.net/edition/news...-1-.htm#144106

Quote:
MEC picks Kelowna

by Wayne Moore | Story: 144106 - Jul 15, 2015 / 7:30 am



Photo: Contributed - Artist Rendering

Conceptual drawing of MEC store at Orchard Plaza

One of Canada's largest outdoor retailers is opening up shop in Kelowna.

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is taking over the former Future Shop location at the Orchard Plaza Shopping Centre.

A redesign of the current space is expected to begin in December, with an anticipated opening in the spring of 2016.

Kelowna will become the 19th store located across Canada and the sixth in B.C. for the Canadian-owned co-operative.

CFO Sandy Treagus says members have been asking for years for a store in the Okanagan.

"Kelowna is right in the centre of an area where there are so many outdoor activities from cycling to mountain biking, climbing, skiing, you name it," said Treagus.

"And, it's a draw for the surrounding areas. We realize it is something of a hub. so, it's two-fold. It reaches a bigger draw, but there are so many opportunities for being active in the outdoors in the area."

Treagus said MEC has been looking at Kelowna for some time, and the opportunity was too good to pass up.

"This opportunity presented itself that was fantastic. We're really stoked about the location and the landlord we're working with. We were just looking at the right time."

Adding to the allure of the area is the fact there are 40,000 MEC members in the region from Kamloops south to the U.S. border.

As a true co-operative, everyone who makes a purchase is required to be a member. It's $5 for a lifetime membership.

"You do benefit from receiving a return every year. The benefits of what is essentially a very strong business model and other benefits you wouldn't necessarily find at other retailers," said Treagus.

MEC features a full line of outdoor gear from biking and running to climbing, hiking and camping.

At 20,000 square feet, the Kelowna location is one of the smaller stores the company will operate. It will be comparable in size to one in North Vancouver, which has a staff of about 84 full- and part-time employees.

Despite an abundance of outdoor stores in the market, Treague believes MEC is well positioned to be very successful.

"I think the MEC brand is incredibly strong. We offer a huge assortment but also focus on things like service and expertise, which we believe is a difference-maker. We don't make decisions lightly to go into a new area. We do do our due diligence, and we believe we can be very successful in the market."








Read More: Today's Top Stories
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  #1019  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2015, 6:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Emtee View Post
THE Lyle Oberg?
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  #1020  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2015, 6:37 PM
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Picture of the walls going up at the new Interior Health Centre downtown.




From: http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/ne...966ec8170.html
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