Council says yes to Kelowna hotel

If it proceeds as scheduled, a new Marriott Hotel at the busy corner of highways 97 and 33 will be the fourth such venture in Kelowna.

A fifth, proposed by the Hyatt chain, is just entering the city’s pipeline. It won’t get to council for four to six months.

The Marriott proposal, which includes two six-storey towers and a multi-family apartment, was before council for the second time.

Council rejected the first proposal in June because it featured a sea of parking fronting both highways. Councillors agreed with staff that such a layout did not meet with its vision for the highway and that particular intersection.

Coun. Luke Stack said it was hard to say no to the original proposal, but believes this second attempt is a better plan.

“I think it’s more attractive, I think it benefits all the community growth objectives we are trying to set, and it’s such an important corner that I think this will be an iconic corner,” said Stack.

Coun. Brad Sieben was not sure the city approved the right plan.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure this is an improvement. I know it fits with urban planning guidelines,” said Sieben.

“I’m not sure how it will be built out. I quite liked the rendering in the original application.”

Sieben did say he appreciated the applicant listening to the feedback from council and correcting what councillors disliked about the first attempt.

He says it wasn’t clear whether the applicant would even come back with a second plan.

The property, the current site of the Okanagan Seasons Resort, will be built up in three phases.

Phase 1 would feature about 120 rooms fronting along Highway 33. Phase 2 would include about 80 rooms and a proposed conference centre near the back of the property.

The multi-family building on the north end of the property would be built out somewhere down the road.

Three other hotels are proposed for downtown, the airport, and along Highway 97 across from Highway 33.

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