Local couple plans to restore historic UBC lodge to its former glory 

Chris Pelz and Angela Perzow bought Whistler Lodge for $1.6 million

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHRIS MACLEAY - Cabin Fever The historic Whistler Lodge, first built by UBC students in 1965, was sold to a local couple for $1.6 million last month, and will remain in operation as a hostel.
  • Photo by Chris MacLeay
  • Cabin Fever The historic Whistler Lodge, first built by UBC students in 1965, was sold to a local couple for $1.6 million last month, and will remain in operation as a hostel.

One of Whistler's most historic buildings is about to get a much-needed facelift, thanks to a local husband and wife.

Entrepreneurs Chris Pelz and Angela Perzow bought the historic Whistler Lodge last month, which was designed and built by UBC students in 1965, for $1.6 million.

Initially, the couple was looking for a "dream home" for their family, but reconsidered after visiting the site.

"When we got ourselves into the lodge, began looking around, seeing all the history and getting the vibe of the property, it was pretty much unanimous between us that we didn't want to tear it down and build our own dream house," explained Pelz. "We decided we wanted to restore what was there and bring it back to what was its former glory."

Now under the couple's management, the lodge will continue to be operated as a hostel that Pelz hopes will appeal to all kinds of visitors to Whistler.

"We really hope we can attract the entire spectrum of people who come to Whistler, from young kids looking to get their toehold here, to families," he said.

Running one of the oldest operating businesses in the valley is a responsibility the couple doesn't take lightly.

"There's such a sense of privilege to be the family that's doing this," said Perzow, owner of Olives Community Market.

"We're putting 110 per cent of our hearts into it," Pelz added.

The building, located in Nordic, has 42 beds. It requires thousands of dollars in restoration after it was underused in recent years under the operation of UBC's Alma Mater Society (AMS).

The society explored the idea of renovating the property to continue using it as a student hostel, but a consultant later found that option wasn't financially viable. The sale netted the AMS roughly $1.45 million in endowment funding.

It's a happy ending for the society, which operated the facility at a loss of over $40,000 in 2011, the most recent year financial information was available. The AMS voted to sell the lodge in 2014, largely because the average student occupancy rate over the past several years was only 33 per cent.

The Whistler Lodge Hostel is taking bookings. Visit www.whistlerlodgehostel.com for more information.

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