When Water Street by the Park is complete, it will revitalize one of the worst areas of Kelowna's Downtown. Long-ignored by developers, the 200 Block of Leon Avenue, notorious for drug use, trafficking, transient activity and homeless camps, will soon be the site of a massive residential development.
The plan, although "not perfect" according to Kelowna City Council, promises to be a solution to the issues and stigmatization that has been sending businesses packing for years. Once home to large businesses such as A & B sound, Spirit Halloween, Vancouver Career College and Boyd Autobody, the area is now the epicenter of Kelowna's transient community.
A very ambitious Vancouver-based developer has been sparking local interest since 2018, when he first started purchasing commercial buildings in the Kelowna downtown core. Initial applications for Water Street by the Park and zoning variance requests to City of Kelowna had been rejected by Kelowna City Council citing concerns of density, parking and transportation.
Permitted Plans for Water Street by the Park include three towers comprised of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units priced from approximately $350,000 upwards to over a million dollars for penthouse suites. The tallest of the three towers will be 42 storeys, and is set to break the record for the tallest building in Kelowna, currently held by One Water Street at 36 storeys. Water Street by the Park will also be home to Kelowna's largest parkade, with over 700 stalls servicing the 650 units, and 45,000 square feet that will house retail and restaurants.
Realizing that developing the run-down area does not, in itself, solve the homelessness issue, the developer has committed to contributing $100,000 annually from Water Street by the Park's profits, to feed and house Kelowna's homeless population.
The project hopes to break ground before the end of 2021, and would be built in phases. It will be a mix of residential and commercial, allowing short-term rentals and having an entire floor dedicated to amenities for use exclusively by its residents and tenants.