New and exciting opportunities and activities are all part of the university experience for students. But sometimes, the hunt for suitable accommodation is one of the more difficult challenges. That task is being made a little easier for students attending the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus with the launch of U-Eight, the Mission Group’s 90-unit condo building in Kelowna’s University District.
The three-storey wood-frame building, which will include a selection of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes, is the last in Mission Group’s series of condo developments in the University District. The developer’s six previous condo buildings comprise 451 sold units in addition to rental units at Ivy Walk, with 63 homes, and Ivy Hall, with 108.
“The University District project was based on a strong demand for housing within walking distance to UBCO,” says Randy Shier, Mission Group’s president.
The UBCO campus has expanded enrolment since its first intake of 3,500 students in September 2005, recording a total of 9,935 students this year. U-Eight is appealing to parents purchasing a home for their children attending UBCO and to investors who intend to rent the units.
Designed by Meiklejohn Architects, U-Eight will have a modern look with clean lines, says Carrie Dawson, Mission Group’s assistant development manager, while a red accent colour selected to mark the entrance to the building will differentiate it from the other condo developments in University District.
Bearing in mind that students are expected to be the future residents of the building, the units are designed to be durable and maximize the living space, while each bedroom has its own bathroom. This combination of space to socialize along with the privacy that comes with an individual bathroom has been a successful layout in Mission Group’s previous University District developments, Dawson says.
Each home has a full kitchen and in-suite laundry with a stacked washer and dryer.
“The in-suite laundry is a favourite feature [of the students] and includes a stacked washer and dryer with storage space in the laundry closet,” Dawson says.
Buyers can choose from two colour boards, either the light or dark scheme. In both options, the upper kitchen cabinets are white while the lower cabinets’ wood-grain look varies according to the choice. A tile backsplash and light-coloured laminate countertops (with only a subtle difference between the countertops in the two palettes) add to the light and airy ambience favoured by students, Dawson says.
Stainless steel appliances include a dishwasher, microwave, range and refrigerator. Vinyl flooring will be used throughout to create a consistent look.
The bathroom vanities, with a single sink and chrome faucet, will have the same wood-grain laminate finish as the kitchen cabinets and all-important storage space.
While the interior paint scheme in the completed units will be neutral, the show suite at 725 Academy Way shows how bedrooms can easily be transformed with the addition of a painted accent wall or fun peel-off wall art. Colourful sofas and chairs in the show suite’s living room illustrate how pops of colour enliven a room and in this case, give it a youthful appeal.
A combination of a surface lot and underground parking provides one parking space for each unit. The building is within walking distance of the UBCO campus and the University District is well connected to public transit.
For students flying in at the start and end of semesters and for visits from family, U-Eight is also conveniently close to the Kelowna International Airport, the 11th busiest airport in Canada, serving 1.6 million passengers annually.
The nearby Airport Village shopping centre has a range of stores and services, including anchor tenants Nester’s Market, Tim Hortons and Pharmasave.
“U-Eight is the last chance for homebuyers and investors to take advantage of the high demand for University housing in Kelowna. More than 9,000 students are enrolled at UBCO, but there are currently fewer than 1,700 beds on campus,” says Jessica Sorrell, director of sales and customer experience, Mission Group.
According to the Mission Group, UBCO’s important role in the region includes a $1.5-billion impact on the Okanagan economy. Recent infrastructure upgrades in the region include the $54-million upgrade of Highway 97 to six lanes just south of UBCO and a $12-million connector road linking the Glenmore community and UBCO that opened this September.
Construction of U-Eight is projected to start this spring, with completion scheduled by the beginning of the fall 2020 semester.
Project address: 625 Academy Way, Kelowna
Developer: Mission Group
Architect: Meiklejohn Architects
Interior designer: Mission Group
Project size: 90 homes
Bedrooms: Studio, 1-, 2-, 3-bedroom (only 2- and 3-bedrooms still available)
Unit size: 312 — 962 square feet
Price: Low $200s to mid $400s
Sales centre: U-Five, 725 Academy Way, Kelowna
Sales centre hours: Sat — Tues, noon — 5 p.m. Wed — Fri by appointment