Kelowna’s buying facilities are based mostly on residential progress

Shopping malls in Kelowna are emerging as residential projects for property owners in the city.

And the city planning department couldn’t be happier.

While the redevelopment plan for the Capri Mall has been in the works for some time, this year new proposals for existing shopping centers in the shopping centers were presented.

A commercial / residential complex is currently under construction in the parking lot of the Willow Park Shopping Center in Rutland. A new condominium is also being built on the former site of Rexall Drugs (now a Dollarama store) in Rutland.

Ryan Smith, the city’s director of planning and development services, said the renewed interest in residential property in shopping malls was a win-win for the city. However, all projects have yet to meet the city staff and council review criteria.

“Sometimes the devil is in the details of these things, but these will all come out in the employee review,” he said.

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By and large, Smith says, these projects encourage denser housing growth in established areas, generally near major traffic and transit routes, and meet the city’s need for people to live, work, and play in the same neighborhood to offer.

“Where condominium is currently being proposed (Dilworth Center), it’s four or five minutes from the rail line, bus routes are less than 100 yards away, and it works for retail property owners looking to offset the loss of retail property income from leasing “Said Smith.

“If the city starts to alleviate some of our traffic problems, these will be the kind of viable developments that can make that happen.

“As planners, we are not naive that this means that all people get rid of their cars. But the development is moving towards being less dependent on owning a car, which helps people drive less cars, which is positive. “

Smith said the re-evaluation of property in shopping malls for housing potential is due to several factors: more people shopping online, the effects of COVID-19, e.g. B. More people working from home and retail rental space is not as profitable as it used to be.

“These retail sales have been disrupted and these mall landowners are looking for alternative ways to generate income in the future,” said Smith.

He noted that city planners always ask when retail development proposals are presented near major population densities or major traffic arteries whether there is an interest in adding a residential component.

Smith calls it basic high-density housing design principles that in turn promote business services to urban centers of the population and reduce the need to travel beyond pedestrian access for lifestyle options from shopping to restaurants to recreational activities.

Smith acknowledged that while these new housing proposals include rental options, they do not necessarily provide affordable housing solutions. Still, the movement of people will create a chain reaction to the potential availability of other inventory options for rental inventory.

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“When people move to another tier of rental, space will be freed up for the older rental options that may not currently exist.”

He said real estate developers also need to find a balance between available parking space for business owners and giving up some of that space for residential development.

“As private property owners, you have to clarify and manage that.”

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