Unlike many troubled golf resort developments that have stumbled into creditor protection or receivership in recent years, Tsawwassen Springs is poised for rapid expansion.
Developer Ron Toigo believes the main di!erence between his resort development – projected to be a $400 million, 490-home golf resort and residential neighbourhood by 2016 – and those that have floundered is that it’s in Metro Vancouver.
Toigo also opted to have local architect Ted Locke design the golf course rather than pay many times that cost to have a golf legend design it.
“It’s a minimum of $1 million to get [a golf legend to build] a signature golf course,” Toigo said, “and, really, it doesn’t change the golf course one bit.”
B.C.’s highest pro*le residential resort golf course +op involved Bear Mountain Master Partnership (BMMP). 1e developer was forced into creditor protection when HSBC Bank Canada attempted to recoup $250 million in loans, which resulted in 2010’s largest real estate transaction involving B.C. companies.
BMMP’s Bear Mountain Resort on Vancouver Island has two golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus.
Other troubled B.C. resort developments include:
Vancouver Island’s Wyndansea, where developers had intended to have a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course but instead saw the project slip into receivership in the summer of 2008; the Cli!s Over Maple Bay, which was expected to have a Greg Norman-designed golf course but instead sought creditor protection and eventually fell into receivership in late 2008; and the Okanagan’s the Rise, where developers built a golf course designed by Fred Couples before the project was placed in creditor protection in late &$$3. Plans for a Nick Faldo-designed golf course at the Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) never got o! the ground. 1e project is now mired in a lawsuit that Nick Faldo Designs *led against RMR for unpaid bills. Toigo, who also owns the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants, has dreamed of creating a Lower Mainland-based residential golf resort for decades. The challenge was finding a large enough property in the right location.
In the early 1980s, Toigo started buying prime farmland outside the agricultural land reserve (ALR). He then negotiated a complex set of land swaps that moved 170 acres of farmland into the ALR in exchange for removing about 30 acres not suitable for farming from the ALR and turning it into the Tsawwassen Springs development.
“The golf course would never be farmed,” Toigo said. “It wasn’t good soil or a good location.”
He also brought in high profile co-investors: crooner Michael Buble; talent manager Bruce Allen and; former Vancouver Canucks coach and general manager Pat Quinn.
1at consortium has thus far pumped nearly $100 million into the project to build roads, amenities and the 22 condominiums in a four-storey wood-frame structure that sold out in the project’s first phase.
Toigo said an additional 53 homes and 93 condominiums in second phase are slated to be complete by spring 2013 and will increase the developers’ costs to $160 million.
Presales for the homes have already launched.
“We’re only pre-selling 20 of the single-family homes,” Toigo said. “We’ll sell the others when they’re complete. We’d prefer not to do any presales, but with the banking system being what it is, the bank requires it.”
Toigo added that presales for the condos started about a month ago. He said 27 of the 50 earmarked for presale have been bought.
Toigo pointed out that most buyers have lived in Metro Vancouver much of their lives and appreciate that Tsawwassen can be a 30 minute drive from downtown and a 15 minute drive from Richmond.
– Business In Vancouver