Bear Mountain Resort hotel sold to businessman Raoul Malak

In the first of what could be a series of deals and partnerships to be announced in the coming years, the company behind Bear Mountain Resort has sold its hotel.

Ecoasis, which bought Bear Mountain in 2013, has entered into what it calls a “working alliance” with businessman Raoul Malak that will see Malak take control of the Westin Bear Mountain.

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Ecoasis will continue to own the resort’s golf and tennis operations and all developable lands.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but Ecoasis chief executive Dan Matthews said he expects Malak’s involvement will “elevate the overall customer service and experience.”

In a statement, Matthews said Ecoasis spent the past five years working to reposition the resort community.

“We are now at a stage in our business and growth strategy whereby we are actively entering into relationships with like-minded companies and individuals that have the passion and expertise in specific disciplines that make up a multi-faceted resort like Bear Mountain,” Matthews said.

Ecoasis laid the groundwork for the sale of the hotel in 2017 when it hired Jones Lang LaSalle to review the resort’s assets and to find a buyer or a partner.

At the time, Ecoasis pointed out it was not a real estate development company and was looking for the right kind of partners to tackle the job of developing another 2,500 units on the site, and enhancing the resort community.

Ecoasis said it would consider all options, including selling the site outright.

Bear Mountain, located atop Skirt Mountain in Langford and Highlands, includes two golf courses, a fitness centre, a hotel, cycling trails and a large area devoted to housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and condos. Large areas have yet to be built on.

Ecoasis bought Bear Mountain at a huge discount in 2013 from HSBC Bank Canada after the bank stepped in to take control from the previous owners, who were unable to meet loan payments.

Since taking over, Ecoasis has poured money into the two 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses, established Bear Mountain as the home of a number of national athletic teams, constructed a clay-court tennis facility, restarted development of two townhome projects and revamped a condominium project, Elevate.

Ecoasis’s master development plan envisions a residential component of more than 10,000 people over the next 15 years. It is home to about 3,500 people.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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