Blackcomb Lodge renovation, sale sign of things to come 

After only six weeks on the market a syndicate of buyers have sold more than one-third of their 60 suites in the Blackcomb Lodge despite the fact that none of the rooms have yet been renovated.

Renovations are due to start on all 60 suites in June and are expected to finish in August.

The sale has some significance because it highlights the demand for real estate in Whistler and also underlines a trend that is set to continue in the lead up to the 2010 Olympics.

The Blackcomb Lodge was one of the first hotels built in Whistler. The first suites were sold to the public in winter of 1981-82.

Since then this syndicate of buyers has collected suites and last fall they decided to sell.

The syndicate and Whistler Real Estate spent several months working on the details before the suites were put on the market in late February.

Drew Meredith of Whistler Real Estate Company, who is one of the agents in charge of the sale, confirmed the Blackcomb Lodge sale was an example of the kinds of sales that Whistler will see more of.

"I think you’re going to see hotels and private investors renovate suite by suite because we’re running out of room (in Whistler) and it’s such a great location," Meredith said.

"The Blackcomb Lodge owners have done complete renovations of the lobby, pool area and roof and the renovations of the suites are going to start as soon as the ski season ends."

The owners intend to spend a little over $5 million on the renovation but in the meantime the apartments are being offered for a reduced price.

"If you buy early then you’re helping finance the deal (the renovation) so we’ll pass the (interest-rate) savings onto the buyer," Meredith said.

Managing Director of the Blackcomb Lodge Rick Browning said the renovations would take the hotel from a two-and-a-half star hotel to a four-star hotel.

"We’re ecstatic with the reaction on the sale, it is a conversion from our existing operating platform to a new hotel, but still, the sales volume prior to completing the conversion is great," Browning said.

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