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Bear Mountain roars out of the rough

More than 4,000 homes, retail, and a PGA event planned at golf resort that was in receivership less than three years ago
Bear Mountain
Victoria resident Dan Matthews is the managing partner and founder of Ecoasis Developments LLP, the owner of Bear Mountain resort. - Darren Stone, Times Colonist

Three years after its purchase, the new owner is in the process of developing the next Bear Mountain neighbourhood of approximately 100 residential lots and a number of multi-family properties including executive-style townhomes.

The first phase was released in April, with lots ranging from 7,500 square feet to 12,000 square feet and lot pricing ranging from $260,000 to $380,000.

“The lots are located alongside holes 3, 4 and 5 of the mountain golf course, approximately 500 yards from Bear Mountain’s core retail and amenities centre,” said Dan Matthews, CEO of Victoria-based Ecoasis Group of Companies, owner, developer and operator of the resort. “We are seeing evidence of strong demand already.”

Ecoasis bought the resort’s land, the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa, and two golf courses from owner Bear Mountain Land Holdings, a subsidiary of HSBC Bank Canada in October 2013. The bank took over the site on in 2010 after it went into creditor protection. No sale price was released. HSBC was owed $250 million.

Situated in the foothills of Mount Finlayson, with a quick connection to the Island Highway, Bear Mountain is minutes from downtown Victoria. Matthews said Bear Mountain is ideal for many demographics from young professionals and active families to empty nesters and retirees.

“Sell your house on the [Lower] Mainland, move to an urban resort and get a brand-new, four-bedroom, golf course home at 30 per cent of the cost of many Vancouver neighbourhoods,” he said.

The existing community, which includes the recently completed and sold out Turnberry subdivision, has approximately 1,150 homes with 3,000 people. At build-out, with more than 4,000 homes, the community could exceed 10,000 residents, making it the largest golf community of its kind in Canada.

Bear Mountain has been zoned for 645,000 square feet of commercial space, of which 250,000 square feet is currently occupied by two hotel buildings, restaurants and a small retail plaza with a coffee shop and food market.

“We will be adding a 50,000-square-foot retail and commercial core, anchored with a brand-name grocery store with a targeted construction start in 2017,” said Matthews.

Longer-term planning for the Bear Mountain Village includes a gondola connecting sightseers and cyclists to the top of Mount Finlayson.
Bear Mountain Resort also includes Canada’s only 36 holes of Nicklaus Design golf.

Bear Mountain will also host two future Golf Canada championship events, and a Professional Golf Association seniors event, expected to be held this September.


- With files from Victoria Times Colonist