Hip trend reaches Kelowna project

Sopa Square in­cludes tower

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties - STEVEN THRENDYL

Neigh­bour­hoods with ab­bre­vi­ated names have been pop­u­lar ever since New York­ers ap­pro­pri­ated Lon­don’s swingin’ SoHo district with their very own SoHo — short for “South of Hous­ton” in the mid 1980s.

Port­land, Ore. has its NoPo (North Port­land), the neigh­bour­hood at the foot of Lons­dale Av­enue in North Vancouver is called LoLo, and Vancouver has its SoMa (south of Main) district.

Now, this hip neigh­bour­hood-nam­ing trend is reach­ing Kelowna, where a new project called SoPa (south of Pan­dosy) Square is tak­ing shape.

The Pan­dosy name is linked to Kelowna’s ear­li­est set­tle­ment by Catholic priest Charles Pan­dosy in the mid1850s.

Kelowna’s modern-day fame for vine­yards and winer­ies is ac­tu­ally noth­ing new: Fa­ther Pan­dosy planted grapes that were turned into com­mu­nion wine for early parish­ioners.

Thank­fully, the wine has im­proved since those days.

Kelowna lo­cals have long re­ferred to the Pan­dosy shop­ping district, which stretches for sev­eral blocks past the newly ren­o­vated gen­eral hos­pi­tal and cul­mi­nates at a cross­roads with K.L.O. (short for “Kelowna Land and Or­chard”) Road.

The east side of Pan­dosy fea­tures a bevy of shops and ser­vices well-loved by lo­cals; they in­clude the Good Earth cof­fee house, Hector’s Casa (Mex­i­can food), Cran­berry Junc­tion (home decor), and Kelowna Cy­cle.

The west side of the street, though, has long had a de­cid­edly tired look to it, with its bot­tle re­turn de­pot, Liq­ui­da­tion World (now closed) and a sport­ing goods rental.

It took six years for Kelowna de­vel­oper Ed Fen­wick and his part­ners to as­sem­ble the land and per­mits for the SoPa Square project.

The var­i­ous com­po­nents in­clude an 11-storey tower that is “split” by an el­e­va­tor that ac­cesses apart­ment homes on ei­ther side.

The perime­ter of the prop­erty will fea­ture ground­floor com­mer­cial space, with three storeys of town­houses above street level.

C MVisit our web­site un­der the head­ing, ‘Rec Prop­er­ties,’ for more photo gal­leries and sto­ries.

It’s hoped a Granville Is­land-like pub­lic court­yard will at­tract mu­si­cians and en­ter­tain­ers in the sum­mer months.

In a city that has seen its share of hel­ter-skel­ter de­vel­op­ment over the past decade — many of which are fac­ing ma­jor chal­lenges — SoPa Square in­tro­duces some pro­gres­sive, for­ward-think­ing ideas that may make it the right project at the right time.

Kelow­n­i­ans love their cars and trucks, partly be­cause every­thing is so spread out, but SoPa will put lo­cal shops, cul­ture, and re­cre­ation within walk­ing dis­tance of its res­i­dents.

Ground-floor com­mer­cial space aug­ments ex­ist­ing busi­nesses in the neigh­bour­hood and the project is within a 10-minute walk to Gyro Beach and Strath­cona Park, the lat­ter be­ing one of Kelowna’s best kept se­crets.

In­deed, the en­tire neigh­bour­hood has re­ceived a mas­sive shot in the arm with a ma­jor ex­pan­sion at the Kelowna Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, just down the road.

Fen­wick’s daugh­ter Stacey leads the sales and mar­ket­ing team.

“The project en­com­passes a full city block and we have suc­cess­fully leased vir­tu­ally all of our com­mer­cial space to Okana­gan-owned busi­nesses, such the Twisted Roots Mar­ket, Mis­sion Meats, Bliss Bak­ery, and Cod­fa­ther’s seafood mar­ket.”

While the fo­cus is lo­cal, the com­mu­nity vi­sion breaks with Okana­gan tra­di­tion to of­fer the high­est stan­dards of sus­tain­able de­sign yet of­fered to area res­i­dents.

SoPa’s ini­tial de­sign and con­cept were cre­ated by in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed ar­chi­tects Perkins+Will; with fur­ther as­sis­tance com­ing from the lo­cal Okana­gan firm of Miek­le­john Ar­chi­tects.

En­vi­ron­men­tally friendly de­sign has been a con­sis­tent as­pect of Fen­wick’s Okana­gan homes and com­mer­cial space; he has con­structed R-2000 cer­ti­fied homes in B.C. and has pi­o­neered the use of geo­ther­mal heat ex­change units in com­mer­cial build­ings through­out the Okana­gan.

SoPa Square will fea­ture many en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly fea­tures found in LEED-cer­ti­fied build­ings.

SoPa Square of­fers five one-bed­room plans, eight two-bed­room plans, and three plans with three bed­rooms and a flex space.

Lux­u­ri­ous, fully cus­tom­iz­a­ble top-floor pent­house suites come with 1,100-square-foot decks.

An ameni­ties cen­tre will in­clude a fit­ness cen­tre, shared kitchen/meet­ing room space, out­door hot tub, 12-me­tre lap pool, pri­vate court­yard and even a putting green, since golf is big in the Okana­gan.

Prices for one-bed­room homes range from $351,000 to $484,000, two-bed­rooms start at $697,000, and the pent­house suite can be yours for just over $2 mil­lion.

The 96 res­i­den­tial units will be ready for oc­cu­pancy in the spring of 2013.

SoPa Square’s “con­scious liv­ing” mantra would be an easy sell in trendy Lower Main­land neigh­bour­hoods, but is per­haps a bit more chal­leng­ing in car-cen­tric Kelowna.

How­ever, Fen­wick re­ports that sales have been strong, de­spite the over­all malaise in the Okana­gan real es­tate mar­ket.

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