Naramata packinghouse property on the block

Historic property is now listed with Colliers International with a price-tag of $10 million

A piece of property that has generated a lot of interest over the years in Naramata has been listed with a real estate agency.

The Naramata packinghouse property is now listed with Colliers International as land or development site for sale with a price-tag of $10 million.

The Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative shut down operations at the Naramata packinghouse in 2008 and closed the plant entirely in 2009. This was part of a streamlining of tree fruit industry facilities in an attempt to operate the industry on a more efficient basis to sell more successfully on competitive global markets.

“We want to be more efficient with the utilization of our assets,” said Gary Schiek, CEO of the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative. “What we would like to do in the shorter term is have three facilities and eventually get down to two, so one in the north and one in the south. In the south end of the valley we have the majority of soft fruit, and the majority of our apples and pears come from the north. We recognized we have come from an industry that is virtually a century old and you have old facilities and an infrastructure that made sense decades ago but doesn’t really make sense today.”

The OTFC is currently in discussions with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen over the Naramata packinghouse property. Schiek said the issue goes back to an easement that was granted in 1988, subsequently a pump house has taken over one of the OTFC lakefront lots.

“We tried to do a land exchange and that was turned down. We tried to work with them on a road closure and that was turned down, so we are still seeking compensation. Trying to sell the property with this issue outstanding doesn’t help us,” said Schiek. “It may be headed to court, but you never know. We have tried a couple of times to resolve it without going that avenue because that is our last resort.”

The packinghouse land includes water frontage, a rare listing in Naramata.

“It’s a bit of rarity,” agreed Eric Weber, associate vice-president with Colliers International. “We are just getting started on it, going through the process of getting our information together, but yes, we have had some preliminary interest. People have been saying they are very interested and as soon as we get our package completed to get it to them.”

The listing describes three properties with a total area of 5.43 acres including substantial water frontage and unparalleled views of Okanagan Lake in an exceptional winery district in one of the Okanagan’s most sought after communities. The listing says the property is improved with a large older, three-storey, wood-frame, mill-style cold storage facility warehouse, and was originally built in 1943.

“It’s really a redevelopment property, there is a whole variety of mixed use potential use for that area. I think in all likelihood someone might come along and do something with the existing buildings for the short term, but the highest and best use is not continuation of what currently is there,” said Weber. “They might use the building for a few years but fundamentally they would redevelop it to some sort of mixed use, multi-family, some retail. I guess it would depend on the vision of the developer, but maybe some vacation ownership or something a bit more destination orientated.”