UBC alma maters to sell lodge as soon as possible 

Society looks for a realtor for Whistler property

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOHN FRENCH - UBC Lodge The University of British Columbia's alumni want to sell quickly.
  • Photo by John French
  • UBC Lodge The University of British Columbia's alumni want to sell quickly.

The long, drawn-out process that is the demise of the UBC Whistler Lodge has passed a key marker. The Alma Mater Society (AMS), the owner of the lodge in Nordic, decided at its most recent meeting to sell the lodge as it is.

The society explored the idea of renovating the property and continuing to offer the building as an affordable Whistler accommodation option. A consultant looked into the economics of spending $1.7 million to replace the lodge then continue to operate a hostel, but the consulting company concluded the hostel in its current format is not financially viable.

The building, which was built in 1965, has 42 beds and at least $300,000 in needed repairs.

Mateusz Miadlikowski, the AMS vice president of finance, said the AMS council decision won't lead to an immediate search for a real estate agent because there are some challenges to sort out before the marketing of the building begins.

"We're working on the process that we would like to proceed with, meaning we need to figure out the best way to approach the sale," said Miadlikowski.

This issue will come back before the AMS council on April 30 with some recommendations on how to move forward, he said.

The main obstacle is the council's inability to make quick decisions. If an offer is made on the building with a 48-hour deadline for a decision, the council won't be able to respond unless the offer happens to come on a day the council is scheduled to meet.

"It might be hard for us to meet at once, and then meet the quorum and proceed, so we're trying to delegate the task properly," said Miadlikowski.

The money-losing property at 2124 Nordic Drive was the subject of a student referendum in January. The students voted 54.6 per cent in favour of selling the 0.7-hectare (1.7 acre) lot.

The property has an estimated real estate value of about $1 million. According to a study done by Coriolis Consulting Corp., a 2011 assessment valued the land at $851,000 and improvements on the property at $126,000.

The most recent financial information for the lodge shows it operated at a loss of $40,500 in 2011. One of the facility's better years was 2008 when the net operating income was $85,396.

The AMS wants to sell the property because the average student occupancy rate the last few years has run at only 33 per cent.

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