A high-profile corner in downtown Vernon could be transformed.
The City of Vernon has received an application to redevelop the former legion building on 31st Avenue into a four-storey structure. It would include 36 residential units and 11,663-square-feet of commercial space.
“We have a ways to go through the process. We are working with the developer,” said Kevin Poole, economic development manager.
The legion has been vacant since about 2009, and Poole admits having the site cleaned up would be positive.
“It’s fantastic to get this kind of activity in the core.”
But the old legion property isn’t the only development proposed for Vernon.
Poole told council Monday that there’s interest in a four-storey, mixed-use building on 28th Avenue, while 71 rental units could be constructed on Centennial Drive.
Sparkling Hill Resort is proposing 21 units for employee housing.
In terms of actual construction, $69 million worth of residential units has built in Vernon between January and November.
“It’s been a phenomenal year and there’s still a lot of activity coming through the door of the planning and building department,” said Poole.
Elsewhere in the community, Okanagan Studios has opened in the old Far West building, and it’s caught the interest of movie producers.
“This type of exposure is great,” said Poole, adding that a studio means people involved in the industry could work and live here.
As for tourism, the city’s hotel room tax hit $570,592 in the third quarter and that money goes towards marketing the community as a destination.
The levy could eventually increase from two to three per cent.
“We do have enough support from the accommodators,” said Poole.
There’s the expectation that special events will draw visitors to Vernon in 2017, including the 55+ BC Games from Sept. 12 to 16.
“They will likely fill every room in Vernon,” said Poole.
Even the recent Holiday Festival on Ice at Kal Tire Place bolstered the economy because it was the figure skating show’s lone B.C. stop.
“It drew people in from the north and further south of us,” said Poole.