Less than six weeks after Vail Resorts announced that it would buy Whistler Blackcomb in a friendly $1.4 billion purchase, another prominent B.C. ski resort went on the market.
Grouse Mountain Resorts announced September 19 that it has retained CBRE to market and sell its operations, which include more than 1,200 acres of privately held land.
The McLaughlinfamily, which has previously owned operations such as Whistler Water, owns the mountain as part of its 3 Angels Holdings Ltd.
Principals are West Vancouver’s Stuart McLaughlin and his Ontario-based sisters Julie McLaughlin and Joanne McLaughlin.
“This recent decision will ensure that Grouse Mountain continues to build on its strong heritage and further cultivate the Grouse Mountain brand and opportunities,” the company said in a release.
Since 1989, the McLaughlins have pumped more than $55 million into improving and diversifying revenue streams on the mountain by adding attractions such as a zip line and a wind turbine dubbed the Eye of the Wind.
“Grouse Mountain presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire an iconic Vancouver landmark,” said Tony Quattrin, vice-chairman of CBRE Canada’s national investment team.
He is marketing the mountain alongside Jim Szabo, also with CBRE’s national investment team.
Within days of the listing, CBRE had received calls from U.S. and Ontario-based investors, Quattrin said.
“We anticipated a high level of local, national and international interest.”
Whistler Blackcomb CEO Dave Brownlie told Business in Vancouverthat the reasons for the sale at Grouse Mountain are likely very different from those at his company.
“We were not seeking a buyer,” said Brownlie to highlight the biggest difference.
Unlike Grouse Mountain, where the assets for sale include private land holdings, Whistler Blackcomb leases its 8,000 acres of skiable terrain from the Crown.
In a separate offering, five acres of raw land on Grouse Mountain is currently listed by Royal LePage for $128,888.
Two other B.C. ski resorts have sold over the past year.
In June, Mount Baldy ski resort in the south Okanagan was bought out of receivership for $3.4 million, and the new owners plan to open this winter, according to G-Force Group, the receiver-manager of Mount Baldy Ski Resort Corp.
In November 2015, U.S.-based Pacific Group Resorts of Park City, Utah, bought Vancouver Island’s Mount Washington ski resort, a going concern. That sale price has not been released.