A seniors’ housing project is taking shape in downtown Kamloops, one in a series of planned construction projects along Victoria Street.
Demolition of the old movie theatre at the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Victoria Street is underway and City of Kamloops development director Marvin Kwiatkowski expects a development permit application for a six-storey seniors housing project in that location to go before council in early February.
The project is a partnership between BC Housing, the Centre for Seniors Information and Kaktus Flats Developments.
KTW earlier reported the 13,500-square-foot property was purchased, in addition to property next door at 630 Victoria St. The combined 21,500-square-foot site will include 112 units, with five floors of housing built above one floor of ground-level commercial space, consistent with the rest of Victoria Street, and Centre for Seniors Information offices.
The former Cineplex Odeon theatre sat vacant in the city’s downtown core for about two decades after the theatre moved to Aberdeen Mall.
Kwiatkowski speculated the lengthy vacancy could be attributed to several reasons.
“Location is pretty good, but often it can be a combination of what was the asking price, how motivated is the seller and sometimes people prefer to keep a property and hold it,” he said, noting property values tend to rise over time. “That happens a lot of times.”
Meanwhile, the city is planning to reduce to two lanes the 500- and 600-blocks of Victoria Street beginning in the spring of 2020. Kwiatkowski said the city conducted a study about two years ago and determined it would reduce traffic lanes — currently four, with two in each direction — widen sidewalks and extend curbs to calm traffic and make the area more pedestrian-friendly.
“It’s like when you go down the rest of Victoria [Street],” Kwiatkowksi said.
It remains unclear when the 600-block will be constructed.
Victoria Street is single lane from First Avenue to Fourth Avenue. Fifth Avenue begins in front of the Paramount Theatre downtown and Sixth Avenue ends in front of Kamloops Curling Centre.