The proposed detailed design of the University of British Columbia (UBC) plan to build a satellite campus in downtown Kelowna encompasses a wide variety of mixed-use uses, including significant academic and student housing spaces.
All of the various occupancy functions will be stacked in a single 35-foot-tall, 35-story tower at 550 Doyle Avenue on the former Daily Courier site — the northeast corner of the intersection of Doyle Avenue and St. Paul Street, just west of the civic amenities cluster and near the lake.
If the tower existed today, it would be the tallest building in BC outside the Lower Mainland.
UBC first announced its satellite campus plan in downtown Kelowna in June 2020, as a partnership with local developer Mission Group, which will redevelop the site’s remaining two-thirds plot in the north into residential and office towers.
For the UBC Tower on the south lot, the university has partnered with Vancouver-based architectural firm HCMA for the design, which incorporates many of the same architectural style and features as the newer buildings on the UBC Point Gray campus in Vancouver.
The newly filed development application with the City of Kelowna shows 77,800 square feet of academic space within seven floors above ground level.
This includes six classrooms of various sizes, the largest of which can accommodate 100 seated students, and dozens of other rooms for meetings, offices and specialized labs.
These academic spaces are intended for use by the School of Nursing, School of Health and Exercise Science, School of Social Work, Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship, and the UBC Vice President of Research.
Levels nine and 10 will remain temporarily empty, set aside for future academic space expansion — bringing the final size of the academic campus to approximately 97,000 square feet. In comparison, the existing UBC Robson Square campus in downtown Vancouver is a similar size, with approximately 80,000 square feet of space.
The whole of the 11th level, just above the academic part of the building, would be used as a private space for the students of the building. Levels 12 to 35 would be fully used as student residences, with a total of 352 units, including 230 studios, 48 one-bedroom units and 74 two-bedroom units.
On the ground floor, the dedicated residential access elevators for living only would be located next to the avenue on Doyle Avenue, while the main entrance to the academic campus would be located at the prominent intersection, where a public corner plaza is planned.
The ground floor use of the academic campus includes a retail unit, gallery and exhibition space, maker studio and a substantial four-storey atrium with lounge areas and a grand staircase.
To provide on-site training opportunities for students in health-related studies, a 10,710 m² medical clinic occupies parts of both the ground and second floors.
The building is set back considerably from the street, creating a large internal public courtyard – framed by the atrium, maker’s studio and a 1,200 m² self-contained cafe pavilion, which partially encloses the square from St. Paul’s Street. The diagonal setback not only defines the courtyard, but also the triangular shape of the tower.
There would also be several other outdoor spaces on the tower’s lower podium roofs, which are terraces adjacent to the courtyard.
UBC proposes to achieve a high degree of sustainability with the design of this tower. LEED Gold certification would be supported by key green building features, such as a stormwater harvesting system for reuse of non-potable water. The gray water would go through a purification system for purification to a safe standard for toilets and landscaping irrigation.
Shower runoff within the residential floors would be channeled into a central tank connected to a heat recovery system, so that the heat can be extracted and reused for space heating and hot water heating.
Due to challenging ground conditions and cost, most parking spaces in new city center towers are located above ground, on the lower levels of the podium. But UBC proposes placing its parking lot underground to optimize the buildable high-density academic and student housing. Four underground levels will contain 260 vehicle parking facilities – including 139 academic stalls and 97 resident stalls – and 476 secure bicycle sheds.
The proposed total floor area for the tower is 525,870 square feet, creating a floor area ratio density of floor area 10 times the size of the 32,300 square foot subdivided site.
The UBC Tower will be complemented by Mission Group’s adjacent 219-foot-tall, 16-story tower with 122,500 square feet of office space, located in the center of the block on the Daily Courier site, and a 324-foot-tall 30-foot tower. floors. with 287 homes. The separate development application for the Mission Group redevelopment portion was also submitted in early January 2022.
All three towers together, including the UBC Tower, will provide downtown Kelowna with a major catalyst for economic revitalization.
The university also plans to double the size of the University of British Columbia-Okanagan (UBC-O) campus by 2040. Currently, the Kelowna Airport campus comprises approximately one million square feet of total floor space, with plans to add an additional million square feet by 2040, bringing the total size of the academic campus to approximately two million square feet.
When UBC-O opened in 2005 on the former Okanagan University College campus, it had just 3,500 students. It has since grown to over 11,000 students.
In November 2021, UBC announced it had acquired a three-acre site in Surrey near SkyTrain King George Station. The university plans to build a major mixed-use campus, with academic space that may provide healthcare education space, given its proximity to Surrey Memorial Hospital, and residential and commercial development to market to reduce the cost of acquisition and construction. to support.
UBC president and vice chancellor Santa Ono says the university could potentially make more site acquisitions near the original Surrey site. In the long run, the UBC Surrey campus could grow to 10,000 students or more.