Malahat resort sold to Shawnigan developer

The Aerie is set to re-open next year now that a judge has approved the sale of the luxury resort.

The Aerie is set to re-open next year now that a judge has approved the sale of the luxury resort.

A numbered company owned by Shawnigan Lake’s Harvey Simons successfully bid $3.1-million for the 85-acre property.

The former five-star resort perched atop the Malahat closed and went into receivership in November 2009.

Originally listed for $6.9 million, it was reduced to $4.75 million in February of this year, and finally dropped to $3.95 million in June.

Simons’ $3.1-million bid, meanwhile, was subject to court approval due to the conditions of receivership.

With the bid approved in court, Simons’ offer moves into the traditional 30-day closing period.

“In the first phase (Simons) will do the work necessary to bring it back up to an acceptable standard,” said Patrick Hrushowy, Simons’ spokesperson.

“It’s sat idle now for nearly three years, and while the receiver did a good job keeping it whole and intact, weather has had an impact and so on.”

Simons expects upward of $2 million will be required to restore the resort to its former five-star glory, before reopening at the beginning of the next tourist season.

A land developer and business owner, Simons also plans to re-brand the resort, and replace its Aerie name, although at this time he hasn’t decided on a new moniker. After that, he hopes to develop the property’s upper portion for what Hrushowy called a “high-end wilderness experience” that fits in with the South Cowichan OCP’s vision for tourism/commercial development in that region.

“He’s taking a look at what the economics might be, but it’s looking like a dozen or more high-end, but rustic, cabins that would be nestled into the natural environment there,” Hrushowy said.

Simons also hopes to make good use of the property’s heli-pad, which would allow tourists to take advantage of southern Vancouver Island’s many outdoor recreation opportunities, such as whale watching and fishing, while still enjoying the luxury of the resort.

The property’s three buildings include amenities such as gourmet dining and spa facilities, plus a tennis court and other fitness facilities.

—Krista Siefken, Cowichan News Leader


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