By Kathy Michaels  Global News
Posted December 16, 2021 6:02 pm

The BC Tree Fruits property at the corner of Ellis Street has sold to one of the Okanagan’s most prolific builders.

The Mission Group bought the property at Street and Bay Avenue in Kelowna for $23,750,000, and the company’s director or real estate, Jeremy Dawn,  said that “they have no immediate plans for redevelopment, but interim tenants are encouraged to come forward.”

One day, however, that’s bound to change and there’s a lot of possibilities.

The property includes an 89,000 sq. ft. storage warehouse and is 3.95 acres, adjacent to the former Tolko sawmill in Kelowna’s north-end neighbourhood.

Jeff Hudson of HM Commercial Group said there was a sale bid process for the property and there were six other offers made before the Mission Group snapped it up.

The enthusiasm for this property is simply a sign of the times, Hudson said.

“Other markets have contracted and quieted down, and we keep getting busier,” Hudson said.

He said when COVID happened realtors were prepared to slow down and they did for a couple of months, but when people figured out Kelowna and the Okanagan was the ideal place to live, the market boomed.

“We have no signs of slowing down,” he said. “Our biggest problem is we have an extreme shortage of product.”

Given market demand, it’s multi-family units that are most likely to be built, Hudson said, adding that there’s no consensus on what the ideal development is at this point.

“There are so many different varieties of housing for people and everybody wants something different,” Hudson said.

“The keyword is affordability, and part of that comes from the compression of spaces. Can you make an 850 square foot condo more efficient?”

The packing house site isn’t far from the 40-acre mill site, which, in the last year, has been cleared and is poised to be redeveloped.

The long‐term future of this neighbourhood is currently being reviewed by the City of Kelowna as part of a north-end neighbourhood plan

Kelowna city council heard this week that a redevelopment plan should be ready by the summer.

This week, Kelowna city council gave a developer, which is affiliated with Tolko, the go-ahead to create an area redevelopment plan for nearly 40 acres of waterfront land that used to be the Tolko lumber mill.

“There will be three or four concept plans to consider. It would be at that time so we’re thinking the visioning objectives stage would be wrapping up around March, and then the concept plan phase would be going in from march into summer,” a city staff member said to council on Monday.