The Wharton Street development project has the potential to significantly change Summerland’s core area.
The agreement, signed on Thursday, is the result of 18 months of effort.
While the groundbreaking is still several months away, there is still much to be done before construction can begin.
A target date of February 2013 has been set for the groundbreaking for the first building and the developers do not expect the work will be completed until early in 2014.
With an estimated value of $90 to $120 million, the Wharton Street project is significant in its cost and in its scope.
The project calls for a series of large buildings with residential, commercial and professional spaces.
The development will provide new spaces for the Summerland Museum and the Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.
These new spaces are badly needed as both facilities are operating out of cramped buildings at present. The need for a larger library and museum has been evident for many years.
While expanding these facilities will help the community, the biggest improvements from Wharton Street will come when residential units in the building are occupied.
Adding population growth to the core of the community simply makes sense.
As people move in and near the downtown area, there is a resulting vibrancy.
At present, Summerland’s downtown is quiet and deserted after business hours. This will change once people are living in the area.
With more activity, there is a potential benefit for the businesses already present in Summerland’s downtown area. And if that happens, it would be a badly needed boost for the local economy.