On November 30, Richmond-based Stryke Group announced that they had closed on their acquisition of a 10.2-acre site in Penticton, setting the stage for a large master-planned community called the Innovation District, which the developers hope to begin construction on in 2024.

Stryke Group acquired the site, 1704 Government Street, with Tien Sher Group of Companies, also based in Richmond. Stryke's Managing Director Rocky Sethi tells STOREYS that the site was acquired for $23M, making it the largest real estate transaction in the Okanagan to be completed in 2023.

"In Penticton, specifically, we see that one of the largest cohorts moving there is the 25-39 age group," Sethi says. "That's that work-from-anywhere kind of nomadic employee, but it's also people that are moving their businesses there. Kelowna's gotten so big that it's got its own gravitational force. There are people that live in Penticton that travel to Kelowna one or two days a week for work and really [enjoy] the Okanagan lifestyle. That, to us, is what this site represented — the ability to create a master-plan-scale community, at 10 acres, across from one of the region's largest employers, which is the [Penticton Regional] Hospital."

For the site, Stryke and Tien Sher are planning a community of 12 buildings ranging from six-storeys to 12-storeys, using both woodframe construction and mass timber construction (something Sethi has been a strong advocate of), which will ultimately deliver up to 1,500 homes, retail space, hotel uses, and medical office space.

An elevated view of a plaza and street within the future Innovation District.An elevated view of a plaza and street within the future Innovation District.(Stryke Group)

View looking northwest across Government Street.View looking northwest across Government Street.(Stryke Group)

Sethi says the project will be delivered across seven phases, with the estimated build out to take about 10 to 12 years.

"It's definitely not a rapid build out of the site. We've been very measured in how we're going to work through the site. We're very conscious about making sure we do it responsibly. We have some businesses on site that we're working with to ensure that they can continue in the next few years while we are developing out our first phase."

The efficiency and collaborative environment Sethi has experienced working with the City of Penticton on the Innovation District project has also been "refreshing," he says, with conversations more focused on getting to a mutually beneficial "yes," compared to conversations he has had working across Metro Vancouver. (Sethi was previously the COO of Adera Development Corporation and also spent several years as Director of Development at Anthem Properties.)

The project will be the biggest Stryke has been involved in, Sethi says, and that's a reflection of their confidence in Penticton and the Okanagan Valley at large.

"We're definitely bullish on the Okanagan in general," says Sethi. "I've been out in that market for 15 years and the fundamentals have really kind of proven themselves out over time. It's not a small place anymore. It's highly desirable from a demographic perspective. It's not just for old people anymore. It's also for young people, because there's lots of good quality jobs there.

"I've had a house in Kelowna since my daughter was born and, even back then, whenever somebody would come in from out of town, we'd always do a day down in Penticton. People come to Kelowna because they want to see the Okanagan, but the heart of the Okanagan is really Penticton — somewhere between Penticton and Oliver. You get the best wineries, the best weather, the best scenery, the best lakes. It's the best of everything, and it's something we're pretty excited to be diving into."

Development Projects