Edmonton-based Avillia Developments has launched a major project in Vernon, B.C., on the waterfront of Okanagan Lake.
The Port Okanagan development is to be built with a number of partners and will include significant multiresidential building, a hotel and commercial space. The project is on 16 acres of land acquired in 2019.
“We’re just finalizing our protocols right now,” Patrick Shaver, the president of Avillia, told RENX. “The concept is a little bit of a village there.”
Shaver said the site, along Lakeshore Drive adjacent to Lakeshore Park and Beach, could offer 500 to 700 residential units, not including the hotel. Avillia's plan is to have all the multiresidential components be developed by partners, while Avillia would develop the commercial elements and the hotel.
The multiresidential is to consist of buildings from six to nine storeys. The sub-parcels are now being marketed to potential development partners.
“We don’t know yet what the mix will be there, because we have four different sites that we could put multi. We do believe it will be a mix of maybe some condos and then some rental market and maybe some senior,” he said.
Other components of Port Okanagan
The commercial component is expected to be about 30,000 to 40,000 square feet to support both the village and the surrounding area. It could include dining and services like a fitness area and spa, as well as a boutique food store of about 10,000 square feet.
A resort hotel and conference centre with about 140 units, restaurant and amenities would anchor the overall development. It would have convention space for about 350 to 400 people.
The 16-acre parcel does include some wetlands and two creeks, leaving about 8.5 acres of the land for development.
“The other 7.5 acres we’ll be retaining and actually enhancing. We’ve got quite a detailed landscape, environmental plan to re-establish some of the wetlands that over the years have changed or deteriorated,” Shaver said. “Within the next two months, I think we’ll have a really good idea and will be able to come out with some plans to show what we’ll be working towards.”
If approvals for the project are finalized by the spring, servicing of the land will begin this summer. The site should be ready for vertical construction later this year. Construction could start as early as the end of this year or the beginning of 2024.
Shaver said the hope is that full build-out would take three to four years.
Partnerships for multires and hotel
He confirmed Avillia has a partner for the hotel development, though he did not disclose the identity.
“We will be developing and building the hotel, our partners will be operating it,” said Shaver, adding Avillia will also develop and own the commercial lots on the Port site.
“In terms of the residential buildings, we are just finalizing the partnerships on two of the three sites, so we will be announcing these in the near future. The third site will probably be a sale to an independent party; however, they will still be part of Port Okanagan and will adhere to our village theme and architectural guidelines.
"Our primary goal when we started this was to deliver the concept of a village like this. That’s what we’re finalizing. . . . We do have partners that will be building with us there.
“There are some elements of the vertical that we’re constructing, some we’re partnering on and some others that other people will be constructing themselves but they’ll be part of our entire village.”
All will be managed through Avillia.
Avillia was established about 15 years ago but in the last six or seven years it has begun undertaking development projects on its own. The company has been focused primarily on residential land, with some industrial and commercial developments.
“About 75 per cent of what we do is we either own or partner or joint venture. We also have a segment where people that have the land hire us to build for them,” said Shaver.
Avillia said the area is identified in the City of Vernon’s Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre Plan as a new and significant development. The Port name also has significance.
"To complement this site and the entire area, a resort-type vision is planned, which includes a high-end hotel," the company said in material supporting the project. "This lake-front development has the potential to be a hub of activity for those living and visiting Vernon and the North Okanagan area.
“The Port is named such as it was in this area where the roads, rail and ships all met. People would come by train and then board large paddle-wheelers to travel down Okanagan Lake. It was a gathering place 100 years ago and will be again soon.”
Shaver said part of the growth plan for Avillia is diversification.
It has two projects in the Okanagan, with the other known as Morningview on Middleton. This 62-acre site is located in the Coldstream area near Port. That development includes single-family and semi-detached homes, which are under construction.
The two projects are located north of Kelowna.