Controversial downtown Kelowna rental highrise developer painted himself right into a nook

Controversial downtown Kelowna rental highrise developer painted himself right into a nook

Controversial downtown Kelowna rental highrise developer painted himself right into a nook

This rendering is of the controversial Muse highrise.

Picture Credit score: Submitted/Appelt Properties and Wexford Developments

The most recent controversy across the proposed redevelopment of the previous RCMP website in downtown Kelowna stems from a voluntary dedication from the developer that has now received him in a bind.

The Metropolis of Kelowna made the property out there for growth two years in the past however every design introduced again by the profitable bidder has continued to draw criticism from neighbours, the general public and several other metropolis councillors. The most recent iteration is essentially the most controversial but — and it’s a large number of the builders personal making.

At a July 26 metropolis council assembly Greg Appelt, president of Appelt Properties, supplied to make 10% of the undertaking’s 259 suites inexpensive.

He outlined that, on the time, as 30% of the median family earnings in Kelowna however nobody on council questioned simply what that meant.

“Inexpensive housing was not on the desk (earlier than Appelt made the provide),” Coun. Luke Stack informed this week. “Initially, what we have been in search of was rental housing within the downtown core. It was really the developer that supplied the ten% inexpensive housing so, when he supplied it, we stated we’d take it. In fact.”

No rental charges have been connected to the July presentation and councillors didn’t decide up on the actual fact it was based mostly on family earnings and never the median rental earnings of those that would really need to lease the suites.

Coun. Mohini Singh, on the time, requested what measurement of suites they have been speaking about.

She was informed by the undertaking’s architect, Jean Man Beliveau, that two-bedroom suites can be 750-800 sq. ft, one-bedroom can be 550 sq. ft and studio suites can be 325-350 sq. ft.

“That (inexpensive models) could possibly be two-bedroom, one-bedroom and studio?” Singh requested.

“Sure, it might,” Beliveau replied.

It was that quick a part of a for much longer presentation that places the result of the entire controversial undertaking in query now.


The undertaking – now named Muse – began out as a name for proposals in 2019 to construct as much as 13 storeys of rental housing together with facilities like a 6,000-square-foot cultural centre and an extension of the downtown Artwork Stroll.

The contract was awarded to RISE (now Appelt Developments) in June 2020 on an 80-year lease with the choice of a 19-year extension.

The price of that lease is a mere $2.7 million however the developer can be on the hook for the $4.3 million price of the cultural facilities for a complete price of $7 million.

Inexpensive housing was by no means anticipated as a part of the contract.

“What town was extra considering, on his preliminary approval, was constructing the Artwork Stroll and making a cultural centre within the downtown core,” Stack stated. “There’s numerous facilities that this developer has to offer to town so we didn’t load it up with inexpensive housing. We felt (if we) loaded it up too closely, it could not be economically possible for anybody to go forward. We needed to steadiness completely different goals.”

This is a ground-level view of the Muse.

This can be a ground-level view of the Muse.

Picture Credit score: Submitted/Metropolis of Kelowna

The unique 13 storey design was so huge that, within the face of public pushback, Appelt went again to the drafting board and redesigned it as a narrower tower however virtually twice as tall.

That required council’s approval and sparked additional outrage from some locally who argued the entire undertaking ought to go to a brand new name for proposals.

READ MORE: Legacy group requires investigation into ‘bait and swap’ on former RCMP website

“He supplied (inexpensive housing) on the finish as an incentive as a result of he was asking for a peak variance, amongst different issues,” Stack stated.

Council agreed however, as a result of inexpensive housing was supplied, councillors made it a requirement that there be an appropriate housing settlement in place earlier than the event allow is issued.


That housing settlement went again to council on Monday and created the newest controversy — the promised 10% inexpensive housing choice was now known as “attainable” — at $2,050 monthly.

That sparked outcries from Mayor Tom Dyas and councillors who rejected the settlement for not being inexpensive.

READ MORE: Kelowna councillor ‘insulted’ by developer’s plan for attainable housing in downtown highrise

Council was additionally informed on Monday that solely studio suites – at 325-350 sq. ft – can be included within the “inexpensive” pool that Beliveau informed Singh might embody one and two-bedroom suites.

Appelt stored to its phrase — rents can be tied to 30% of the median family earnings in Kelowna. However, that $82,000 is predicated largely on two-income households. These tiny suites are solely appropriate for one particular person.

The extra correct measure is the median renter’s earnings of about $47,500. That will drop the rental charge to $1,180, Stack stated on Monday.

“I don’t know if he intentionally was attempting to mislead the general public,” Singh stated. “I exploit the time period disingenuous as a result of I don’t assume there was a real real need to provide inexpensive or attainable housing.”

Which means council granted the change in peak for one thing that, in Stack’s phrases, is “actually not carrying out something.”

Now Appelt has to supply an inexpensive housing settlement acceptable to council and nonetheless make the undertaking viable. And there’s a deadline.

Appelt’s contract requires development to begin inside 1,074 days (virtually three years) from the day the deal was accomplished — Feb. 10, 2021. Building should begin by mid-January 2024 or town should buy again the contract. Fourteen months will not be very lengthy for a undertaking of this measurement.

Appelt didn’t return repeated calls from by publication time.

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