The Westminster Avenue proposed development. (City of Penticton)

City of Penticton council unanimously approves development of two apartment complexes

Development of the two buildings will add 240 units to the Penticton area, some downtown

City of Penticton council approved on Tuesday the development of two large apartment complexes, which will add 240 units to the area.

The first, a five-storey, mixed use building, with 75 units and retail space on the main floor, will be located at 285 Westminster Avenue West. The second, a six-storey, 165-unit apartment building will be located at 3352 Hemlock Street.

Council was excited at both proposals, and spoke to the need for more housing and increased development, especially in the downtown core in relation to the Westminster Ave. project. Both requests for development permits were voted on and passed unanimously.

“I’m very excited to see the developments like this one and the previous one we just looked at,” said Coun. Julius Bloomfield.

Mayor John Vassilaki echoed Bloomfield’s comments.

“It’s really nice to see that developers outside of Penticton have so much confidence in the City of Penticton that they’re coming to invest many tens of millions of dollar in our community,” he said. “Not only putting up their buildings but also improving the areas that they’re going to build in.”

He said these buildings will be a much-needed addition to the city, and will help address the rental housing need.

Other councillors also congratulated the developers.

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Included in the proposal for the 75-unit complex is 2,400 square feet of commercial retail space on the ground floor, with art installations featuring Penticton’s history facing the street. It includes a bike and pet wash station, a barbecue for residents, boulevard trees and plants along Westminster Avenue West and Brunswick Street.

The developer, Mission Group, is a real estate developer based out of Kelowna, specializing in mid to high-rise mixed use and residential construction.

“This is their first project in Penticton, they’re very excited about it,” said City of Penticton director of development, Blake Laven. “As a company they state that they’re shifting their focus to build a portfolio of high-quality apartment buildings with a particular emphasis in walkable urban areas.

“This is their first such project and they state they’re really excited about this neighbourhood and the exciting urban transformations in and around this area. They also state that they plan to continue their investment into Penticton, and consider this the first of many projects.”

Staff submitted full support for the project, which included one variance to allow for an increase in small car parking spaces.

The project at 3352 Hemlock St. will feature a 165-unit apartment building with main entrances from Hemlock St.

Spearheaded by WestUrban Developments Ltd., a company based out of Campbell River, the project is set to include no shortage of greenery.

It is set to include 55 large deciduous trees, hundreds of other shrubs, as well as planting gardens, and private decks for each unit. A majority of parking is underground, however there will also be surface parking.

The mix of units includes 92 one-bedroom, 60 two-bedroom and 13 three-bedroom suites.

The project requested a slight reducing of 10 per cent in unit side, which staff considered a reasonable reduction provided the amount of amenities included in the project including an indoor gym.

Staff and council were excited about the project, and council noted that this land has posed challenges for many developers in the past. Constructions costs, Bloomfield said, are substantial, and gave kudos to the company for taking on the challenge.

“It’s good to see money coming into the city from outside,” said Coun. Jake Kimberley. “Certainly I’m very pleased that they recognize too that the landscaping is also essential to that area, it’s going to make a big change to that area, that’s for sure.

“Further to councillor Kimberley’s comments, it is nice,” said Coun. Katie Robinson. “It’s great to see this coming forward.”

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