El Rancho Motel will be in front of city council May 3 for first reading of a potential 305 residential units constructed there. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

El Rancho Motel will be in front of city council May 3 for first reading of a potential 305 residential units constructed there. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

El Rancho Motel site in Penticton could turn into six 6-storey apartment buildings

Over 300 residential units and commercial space proposed in North Gateway location

Penticton will see what the future of a new community could look like at the El Rancho Motel site where six-6 storey apartment buildings are being proposed.

At the Tuesday, May 3 meeting, council will be asked to give first reading to a zoning amendment at 813, 825 and 877 Westminster Avenue West, known as the El Rancho site. The proposal would bring 305 residential units to the area.

El Rancho Motel is a 74 unit motel built in the 1960s. It sits across from the Visitor’s Centre and is less than two blocks from Okanagan Lake and across from the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, SOEC and Community Centre.

The applicants are proposing a mixed-use (commercial and residential) development consisting of five, six-storey apartment buildings, and one, six-storey mixed-use building and 2,000 sq. ft. (186 m2) of commercial retail space.

Rendering of the six-storey buildings that would front Westminster Avenue in Penticton. Five buildings are being proposed for El Rancho Motel site. (City of Penticton agenda)

Rendering of the six-storey buildings that would front Westminster Avenue in Penticton. Five buildings are being proposed for El Rancho Motel site. (City of Penticton agenda)

The rezoning application was first introduced in 2020 but council turned down the resort-style proposal. A revised version was then brough to a public hearing in September 2021 where council gave it first approvals.

Staff are also recommending that council require the registration of a covenant as a condition of the approval to ensure the long-term protection of the four city-owned American Elm boulevard trees along the Westminster Ave W frontage that create that unique tree canopy.

“This application provides an opportunity to start to realize the vision that is emerging for the North Gateway to create a welcoming and attractive neighbourhood while addressing the urgent need for housing,” said city planning and licensing manager Audrey Tanguay.

Last week, Mundi Hotels held their groundbreaking of their new six storey 105-room hotel and 100-seat restaurant beside the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

READ MORE: Groundbreaking of 105 room hotel

The town home/condo developments along Riverside Drive are being sold before they are built as more and more developers invest in the North Gateway area of Penticton.

If the bylaw is given first reading, a public hearing will be held on May 17 for council to hear feedback from the community prior to a decision to adopt the bylaw.

“Council is supportive of seeing residential development at this location as shown by our decision to amend the future land use of this property last year,” said Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki. “We are pleased to see the plans progress and look forward to discussing this proposal.”

This is the view from the proposed apartments on Power Street and Westminster. (City agenda)

This is the view from the proposed apartments on Power Street and Westminster. (City agenda)

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