A property first developed as a Volkswagen dealership in the 1960s is going to see new life as a “Granville Island Type” public market.
The 6,080-square-metre property at 249 Westminster Ave. West was rezoned a decade ago with the intention of constructing a multi-story, multi-family residential development with commercial at the ground level.
That development never took place, but the property was purchased recently by Toni Brown with the intention to eventually develop it in a similar fashion.
In the meantime, she is hoping to put the property to work in its present form, requesting a rezoning to C5, urban commercial.
The conceptual plans submitted to Penticton city council at their May 8 meeting feature a Granville Island Public Market concept, cidery, bistro and public parking lot. Apartment towers could be built in the parking lot area in the future under the C5 zoning, according to the staff report.
The last major use of the property was by Fraserview RV, which moved on in 2014. A detailing business and a repair shop continue to operate on the property, as does a small vehicle sales operation.
According to the letter of intent supplied to city council, there are no immediate plans for additional building, just to rent out the existing building space and parking area.
The request to rezone to C5 is an interim step to accommodate the short-term uses, but once the exact long-term use has been determined, a separate rezoning application might be needed.
The report to city council cites several benefits from approving the rezoning, including increased parking within walking distance of downtown and improvements — parking lot beautification and streetscape greening — that support the downtown revitalization efforts.
Council voted unanimously to support the project and pass it through the public hearing.
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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