First introduced to Kamloops in September 2018, City Gardens is the vision of Kelson Group to add to the vibrancy of the downtown core while increasing density and relieving the current housing shortage. Along the way, community engagement initiatives have guided design decisions to the long-awaited unveiling of the Sales Centre & Show Suite this spring, a thrill for the Kelson Group’s founder and Executive Director, Ron Fawcett.
“To get to this moment has taken a lot of work for our team, our architects, engineers, the City’s development services team, and the community who were generous with their feedback to help us make this the best project we could for downtown,” remarked Fawcett. “We are so pleased to be moving forward.”
Moving forward for Kelson Group means that work has kicked into high gear to finish construction of a Sales Centre & Show Suite at 220 4th Avenue opening in April; a central location to welcome people and share the City Gardens vision. When sales launch this May (anticipated but subject to change), a 24-storey residential tower will be the first building of six within the development to be built, marketed, and sold.
“We have a large database of interested people and we get inquiries daily asking what is happening with the development,” said Fawcett. “We are just finalizing information now and details on pricing and the suites will be coming out soon.”
Back in 2017, Kelson Group announced they had purchased several properties in the downtown core of the city with the intention of redeveloping the area with unique residential housing. The original concept, however, is rooted decades ago with Fawcett.
“My history with this property goes back about 25 years. I remember taking my grandkids skiing. I would drive them home and we’d go by this part of town. I would tell them ‘I am going to buy this property and we’re going to build something here’. It took a long time to come, but I’m most proud of the fact that the development is a Kamloops production. I’m delighted that we can bring this to reality right here in our home city.”
Since founding Kelson Group in 1974, nearly 50 years ago, Fawcett reflects on a long business history in the city of Kamloops.
“I got my start in rental property management in the early 1960s with a single rental investment suite, followed later by purchasing a full apartment building in South Kamloops. Those investments spurred my interest and paved the way for growing our property management company which is now over 80-employees strong and reaches into ten cities in B.C. and Alberta.”
Over the past decade, Kelson Group has also moved forward in property development constructing nearly a dozen apartment complexes across British Columbia, starting back in 2014 with Wellesley Court in Abbotsford. Since then, ten more projects ranging in size from 50 to 200 suites have been completed or are under construction. The six phases of City Gardens will dominate the Kelson Group development team’s focus for the next few years. In property management and now with property development, Fawcett finds great satisfaction in providing safe, clean, and attractive buildings for residents and creating employment opportunities and a workplace culture that is cohesive and encouraging. City Gardens is an opportunity to further expand upon Fawcett’s work to build the team and a diverse array of both rental and market units.
“The name City Gardens has always been the foundation of our design because it captures our vision of a vibrant urban environment enhanced with green spaces and beautiful landscaping. This design concept brings the best of both worlds into one living space and will be a jewel in the downtown core.”
Further details of the City Gardens master plan includes up to 800 underground parking stalls over three levels, social gathering spaces like outdoor kitchens, water features, an Amphitheatre, dog run area, and a natural play park area.
“Our company’s goal is to help our residents live better. Not only have we found solutions to ensure our current residents are looked after, but we’re providing details to those in the neighbourhood to keep them well informed on the project as well. We believe City Gardens will provide excellent housing options for our community, and future newcomers too.”
In addition to enjoying time with family, Fawcett also maintains an active life of farming, travelling, and supporting the community through contributions to local arts and culture, animal welfare, and many other initiatives.
“This region has been very generous to me, and it will be a great day when I wake up and look out at my view from our suite in the first tower at City Gardens. Becoming a resident myself has made me appreciate many of the needs and expectations of this scale of change in the city I call home, so it matters a lot to me that we get it right, right from the start.”