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episode # 17

U-Eight in Kelowna by Mission Group with Luke Turri

U-Eight by Mission Group is an exciting new development in the growing university district of Kelowna. Situated immediately south of Kelowna’s UBC Okanagan campus, this impressive condo building, located on freehold land and within walking distance to the campus, will be the 8th offering from Mission Group to this mixed use, master plan community. The floor plans have been designed with students in mind, bringing condo living to the university experience. Floor plans include studios, one, two and three-bedroom offerings with prices starting in the low $200’s. Kelowna has lakes, mountains, golfing, wine, ski hills and a sought-after world class campus that attracts students from across Canada. Strong rental rates and high demand for student housing make this an attractive investment opportunity. Completion expected for school year 2020!

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Episode Summary


 

Tell us a little bit about the project.

U-Eight is situated in the growing University District immediately south of the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus, a mixed-use master planned community that is a key neighborhood for the growing university campus and within walking distance to all that the university offers. It is also right next to transit options for residents to connect to downtown and other neighborhoods in Kelowna.

The 90-unit complex is on freehold land, not university endowment land, and features 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom homes, all with parking. All plans were designed with students in mind.

How are the plans uniquely designed for students?

Each bedroom has its own ensuite bathroom to consider privacy for roommates and maximize private space. They also have condominium features such as insuite laundry, full kitchens, and balconies that make these homes much more attractive than the on-campus housing for students.

Why are you excited about Kelowna and this area specifically?

The University District area has transformed since 2005 with the UBCO campus. The university is growing quickly. UBC ranks in the top 20 public universities in the world and there are now more than 9000 students at the Okanagan campus. Three quarters of those students are not locals but from across Canada and from over 30 countries and want to live close to campus.  There is a lack of private development opportunities near the school, so supply is constrained, while the amenities in the area are getting  better all the time.

The larger story of Kelowna is that the city is coming into its own. The last 5 years have been particularly significant with a maturing of the economy. We have always had the natural amenities, the lake, the mountains, golfing, wine, skihills, and that has always attracted vacationers and retirees. But now Kelowna is attracting working professionals in a way that it did not before. There is a new entrepreneurial spirit. Our tech industry, for instance, represents 1.6 billion dollars for our local economy. The Kelowna Airport, right near campus, is now the 10th busiest airport in Canada. We also have one of the best healthcare facilities in BC as we are the regional hub for the interior. We really punch above our weight class for a city of our size.

One thing that is worth highlighting is that UBCO is not the traditional commuter campus, like a lot of universities in smaller centres that service a local student base.

Exactly. It is a world class campus and it attracts students from all over the world. We have a medical school, an engineering school, a business school. It is an international hub and has attracted that type of investment.

Can we talk about starting price points?

Studio starting price: low 200s

1 bedroom starting price: mid 200s

2 bedroom starting price: mid 300s

3 bedroom starting price: mid 400s

What are the types of rents that we can anticipate? Are the homes rented all year round or only when school is in?

Studio rental rates: $1250

2 bedroom rental rates: $1800-$1900

3 bedroom rental rates: $2700

We have seen two different scenarios when it comes to rentals during the summer period: students often stay for the full 12-month term, staying to work in the summer, or the continue to pay rent to hold their accommodation for the next school year. We have also seen short term rentals in the summer and there has been great returns for short term stays during the time when fewer students are around.

Do you work with a property management team that can help investors from outside of Kelowna?

Absolutely – we have great referrals for property management teams that will be able to help with management.

When can we expect completion of U-Eight?

The project will be completed by the time school starts in the fall in 2020.

And the deposit structure?

The deposit structure is staggered and equals a total of 15%.

Can you talk a bit more about Mission Group?

Mission Group is a Kelowna owned and operated company that started 15 years ago. We focus on multifamily and we have completed over 2000 homes at this point and have many more are in our pipeline.

We have recently moved into concrete highrises in downtown Kelowna and are vertically integrated, so we manage the entire process from acquiring the land, to the build, to customer care after completion.

Last, We also have built purpose-built rental in Kelowna to hold long term as we very much believe in the city’s future.

We are here based in Kelowna and we stand behind our homes 100%.

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