After more than four years tied up in receivership, lands connected with Three Sisters Mountain Village (TSMV) in Canmore have been sold to its former owners.
A Court of Queen's Bench judge approved the sale of Three Sisters assets to 1712841 Alberta Ltd. in early September. While a redacted copy of the sales agreement was released, the court sealed the price.
Western Investor sources, including an unsuccessful bidder, estimate the sale price at from $30 million to $50 million, with the consensus at the lower end. The secured creditors were owed roughly $90 million, according to documents filed by receiver PricewaterhouseCoopers.
1712841 Alberta Ltd. is affiliated with Blair Richardson and Don Taylor, two men who have been part of TSMV ownership in the past and who were among the secured creditors left holding the bag when a collapse in the resort real estate market in early 2009 put TSMV into receivership.
Exactly what will happen with the 1,495 acres of prime mountainside real estate involved in the sale remains to be seen. The purchaser can't sell the property as part of one massive deal for at least a year.
PwC had been pursuing a new area structure plan (ASP) for the land to increase its sales appeal in the Rocky Mountains resort community, but opposition to its plan, which included fencing off wildlife corridor spaces from development areas, stopped the ASP process in the spring.
As a former bidder noted, the uncertainty surrounding rezoning and allowed use of the property is among the reasons why a discounted price is likely.
The new owners have some history with the community, which may help move future plans along once the fall municipal election results are clear in late October, and the developer knows what kind of political environment it will be facing.
Chris Ollenberger, a former CEO and president of TSMV, will be working on behalf of the new owners to steer the initial post-purchase activities.
He said the new owners haven't settled on a vision for the property yet, and want to get a good handle first on the state of the land and what's been done since they were last involved before settling on what new direction they might take.
"The owners are still interested in health and wellness as an overall thought and process and vision to the property, but the details of how that would actually be worked out and what that would look like and the next steps moving forward is completely up in the air at this point," Ollenberger said.
The 2004 plan called for a high-end spa and golf course, which are now in limbo.
from Western Investor October 2013