Tech space part of Tranquille Road development

Arpa Investments plans to erect three buildings in North Kamloops, with construction set to begin in fall of 2020

Construction of the first of three new buildings set to rise in the 300-block of Tranquille Road in North Kamloops will begin next fall and include a 200-seat space for the tech industry and other community events.

Arpa Investments plans to erect a hotel, office building and apartment complex on 1.5 acres of land it purchased between Wood Street and Clapperton Road. It plans to break ground on the office building in about 10 months.

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Arpa co-owner Joshua Knaak said an application for a development permit for the office building is still six months away.

The eight-storey wood-frame building will be located in the centre of the property and include a three-level parkade built into the hillside.

It is slated to be the future home of Kamloops Innovation Centre (KIC) and Streamline Technologies, which want to expand from their space in the current building on the property, at the corner of Wood Street and Tranquille Road.

Knaak said the plan is to have six floors of office space above the first two floors, which will incorporate a 200-seat multi-purpose space. It would resemble other tech-based structures like Accelerate Okanagan in Kelowna, he said, with the 200-seat space being used for tech-based events, such as e-gaming tournaments, and various community initiatives.

The design plans also call for an 80-seat restaurant on the ground floor.

“The goal is to create that space where it’s not dark at night,” Knaak said, noting he has had talks with potential user groups for the community space, including KIC and Thompson Rivers University.

“Still sort of working on what that looks like, but I think there’s no question there’s demand there, whether it’s private or public or some combination of the two,” Knaak said, adding he wants to get as many user groups in the space as possible.

The parkade would serve the new KIC building and the hotel, which will rise at the corner of Clapperton Avenue and Tranquille Road, followed by another mixed-use building, similar to The Station, at the corner of Tranquille Road and Wood Street. That will will involve tearing down the current Kamloops Innovation Centre building at that corner.

The office building wasn’t initially built to attract tenants in the tech industry, but Knaak said that is from whom the interest came. He said potential tenants from the tech industry want high-quality commercial space that is also affordable.

“Between downtown and the North Shore, I don’t know when the last commercial building was built, so a lot of the space is dated,” Knaak said.

He said at this point, interest in the building hasn’t come from out of town, but noted companies will be attracted to Kamloops with new infrastructure in place, whether via Arpa or other developments.

Asked why Arpa chose to open a hotel on that block, Knaak said there are not many options on the North Shore, noting McArthur Island is a year-long driver for visitors attending tournaments.

“It make sense to start seeing that type of amenity built along the [Tranquille] corridor,” he said.

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