If Mike Hache gets his way, what is now a forested lot along the Old Hope Princeton will in the near future become a large-scale hotel, condo and commercial development.
For the time being, a recommendation to prepare a development permit for and adjust the maximum building height on a 3.5-acre section of the 18.4-acre property at 950 Old Hope Princeton Way passed first reading of council on Nov. 26. The plan for this part of the property is to construct a 106-room hotel and conference centre.
The plans presented to council indicate the hotel will be a Best Western, and Hache said a $250,000 franchise fee has been paid to the chain for use of the brand for 10 years. The brand could change as the project progresses, council documents state.
The hotel plans include a 250-300 person conference centre and a restaurant with a 150-person capacity. Council documents clarify that the current application is only about the hotel development, not the entire site.
What Hache has planned is a lot more than this and includes four condo buildings — including one seniors complex —10 townhome buildings as well as commercial units facing Old Hope Princeton Way. One building at the far end of the lot has plans to be turned into badminton and pickleball courts for tournaments.
Hache said the project is phased over five years and he estimates it will create 300 full-time jobs over that period. The next part of the project he plans to bring before council is a 74-unit condo building, then a seniors facility to house 100 people as well as commercial space for doctors, pharmaceutical or dentists.
“We feel that the market is right for Hope, the prices are reasonable. Our cost to build, because of its location, is very, very attractive,” Hache said. “And so we’re right in the middle of the triangle of Kelowna, Kamloops and Vancouver. If you go anywhere in the province you have to go through Hope.”
A similar project from Hache has been brought to council before.
Hache was behind bringing Tim Hortons to Hope. Then, his plans to develop 150 Old Hope Princeton Way into a hotel, restaurant and convention centre languished for years.
Hache said financing was not the reason the first hotel project fell through, rather he and his business partner couldn’t come to an agreement and this is why the deal fell through.
Hache said this project is different for a number of reasons: a new location, internal financing and Hache as the sole developer.
“I’m the head dishwasher,” Hache joked, adding he owns the land being developed and is also the sole developer. “It’s better situated and we have internal financing for it. We have partners, joint ventures and financing for it.”
At the Nov. 26 meeting, the issue of how to guarantee the developer will finish the project this time came up.
This is not the first time these questions had been asked. Council documents indicate council had similar questions at a Feb. 23, 2015 meeting.
Hache said he and the district have agreed on a number of payments to the district at various stages of the project: $75,000 before any civil work is done, $75,000 before a building permit is issued and $100,000 before final occupancy.
The money is to ensure that if the project dies, the costs to the district to do the work required on the land to return it to its pre-development state will be covered.
The first $75,000 has already been paid, chief administrative officer with the district John Fortoloczky confirmed. “(It) has been given as a security until such time it will be voluntarily given to the district by the developer. No documentation has been signed at this point,” he stated.
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