An artist’s rendering of the building at 1570 and 1580 Water Street. (Contributed)

An artist’s rendering of the building at 1570 and 1580 Water Street. (Contributed)

625-capacity wine centre proposed in historic Kelowna building

The building at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Water Street, in Kelowna, was built in 1908

Two historic buildings in downtown Kelowna are being proposed as the location for a unique new 625-person capacity wine centre.

The proposal, going to council on Monday, shows a building frontage that reads ‘Iconic Wines’.

The establishment proposed for the building at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Water Street would feature a 60-person wine bar, 150-person lounge, 60-person rooftop deck, a 300-person interpretive centre and a tasting room, a 30-person education centre and lab and a 25-person wine shop.

The building would encompass 1570-1580 Water Street. The location 1580 Water Street was constructed in 1908 as the offices of the newspaper the Kelowna Courier. The paper continued to occupy the building until 1957 when the business moved its current location on Doyle Avenue. From that point, the building hosted a series of businesses, including, most recently, the Keg restaurant.

Two years later 1570 Water Street was constructed to house a Chinese restaurant on the ground floor with living quarters above. That building has changed hands numerous times over the years, serving as an extension to the Keg at one point, but most recently the building housed La Lupita, a Mexican restaurant.

The 625-person total capacity is in excess of the city’s bylaw — which currently allows only 500 people at bars and nightclubs downtown. The same policy calls for a 250-metre separation between “large establishments” with over 249-person capacities. The four locations would be in breach of that policy near the proposed wine centre.

“However, it is important to note that these policies were intended primarily for nightclubs and bars where late-night alcohol consumption is the main focus of the venue,” read a city staff report.

Staff are recommending council support the application, sending it to a public hearing.

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City of Kelowna