The University of BC (UBC) is planning a significant new university presence in downtown Kelowna which will include a mixed-use development featuring community-facing academic space, office space and university rental housing.
The site for the new development is centrally located at the Daily Courier location at 550 Doyle Avenue, with rezoning and architectural planning set to begin the coming months. Mission Group is co-owner of the site.
UBC Okanagan deputy vice-chancellor and principal Deborah Buszard says that a downtown presence is the logical next step in the evolution of the campus.
“Since our creation in 2005, we have grown from 3,000 students to over 11,000 today and we expect our community to continue its development, reaching a population of over 20,000 by 2040,” she says. “With this kind of expanded presence over the coming years, it only makes sense that we would create community-facing academic space in the heart of Kelowna, in close proximity to many of our community partners working in health, tech, business, and arts and culture.”
The downtown location is close to important community partners like Interior Health, the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, YMCA and Accelerate Okanagan. It’s also a vibrant cultural and business hub for the region.
Plans for the new building have yet to be finalized and approved by the City of Kelowna but are anticipated to include 80,000-100,000 square feet of academic space to support community-facing programs and services. Early concepts also include potential for office and residential space.
The investment by UBC was part of an agreement with the City of Kelowna where the city will purchase a 67-hectare portion of the agricultural lands owned by the university to the west of the Okanagan campus, subject to approval from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.
The $7.4 million purchase price for the land will come from the city’s Landfill Reserve Fund and the Land Acquisition Loan General Reserve.