Aquilini Investment Group Closes on SOPA Square
Aquilini Investment Group’s $29.5M bid for Kelowna’s troubled SOPA Square project received final approval last week, a strong signal that the Okanagan centre's finally on the mend after getting hit hard in the 2008 financial crisis, Colliers AVP Marshall McAnerney tells us.
SOPA Square—a mixed-use development on 1.7 acres on South Pandosy Street in Kelowna’s Lower Mission area—will include 40k SF of ground-floor retail space, with 23k SF of office space above. The development will also have an 11-storey residential tower and six-storey townhome complex—160k SF of residential in all. The project, originally approved back in 2008, had a rocky recent past, going through several owners before entering receivership last year.
Aquilini's $30M investment in SOPA Square represents a resounding vote of confidence in Kelowna, Marshall says, noting the project will help transform South Pandosy into a thriving hub with restaurants, shops and services, all within a short stroll of Okanagan Lake. Parts of the commercial space are built and operational, with early retailers like Famoso and Tru Frozen Yogurt. A 7k SF brewhouse is planned. The offices are strata units from 300 to 7,154 SF. Residential tower plans will be tweaked by the new owners and the project relaunched.
Marshall predicts the area could become Kelowna’s version of Kitsilano. “The neighbourhood around SOPA has been exploding in the last few years, and a lot of it's based on the feeling that this is going to be the place to be.” He even bought a home in the neighbourhood recently. Older houses on his street are getting torn down, replaced with bigger ones. An Urban Fare opened a few years back, and loads of great new eateries, too. “All the trendy restaurants are coming,” says Marshall. “This is becoming a true urban centre unlike anywhere else in the Okanagan.”