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Intrawest selling most of its Squaw Valley interests

Melissa Siig
Court Leve / Tribune News ServiceThe Village at Squaw Valley will see a change in ownership, but officials said no changes in service are expected.
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TAHOE CITY – As part of its company-wide strategy to raise capital and acquire more investments, Intrawest is in the process of selling the majority of its interest in the Village at Squaw Valley.

The sale is the third phase in Intrawest’s divestment of ownership of its 10 North American villages. The Vancouver company is selling 80 percent of its interest in its villages in both Canada and the United States to CNL Income Properties, a real estate investment corporation based in Maryland.

The two companies formed a partnership six months ago, whereby Intrawest will retain 20 percent minority interest and management over the villages.



“It’s a great way for us to raise capital and focus on management services,” said Joe Walsh, Intrawest vice president of commercial development. “It’s part of Intrawest’s philosophy.”

The first phase, which closed in early December 2004, included retail and commercial space at Whistler Creekside at Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia and the Village at Blue Mountain in Collingwood, Ontario. A few weeks later, five other villages were sold to CNL: Mammoth Mountain, Copper Mountain, Colo., Snowshoe Mountain, W.V., Stratton, Vt. and Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Fla.



The third phase, which Walsh expected to be completed in June, includes the villages at Squaw Valley and Lake Las Vegas. The deal with CNL does not include the Village at Tremblant in Quebec, which was sold to a local real estate investment group.

Walsh said visitors and merchants at the Village at Squaw Valley shouldn’t notice any changes as a result of the sale. Intrawest will continue to be the leasing manager of all the retail and commercial space.

“It’s more of a financial change,” he said. “In the way we run the village there will be absolutely no change.”

With more assets as a result of the sales, Intrawest is acquiring ventures such as Abercrombie & Kent, a luxury adventure travel company.

Intrawest bought a 67 percent interest in the company in July of last year.

However, Intrawest is not getting out of the resort development business altogether. It is currently developing five resort villages in Europe and North America, including villages in France, New Jersey and Winter Park, Colo.

Already in the middle of a major remodel, the new owners of the Resort at Squaw Creek are in the planning stages of a condominium development and parking structure at the property.

The two phases mark the transition of the Resort from a hotel to a hotel-condominium operation.

Although the resort’s 405 rooms were originally built as condominiums, they have been operated as a hotel. Destination Hotels, which took over ownership of the resort last April, is in the process of reconfiguring the rooms as condominiums. The rooms are being remodeled, including the addition of a fireplace and small kitchen, and combined into two-bedroom condominiums for a total of 228 units. Construction will begin in April on the first floor. The condos, which go on sale Friday, run from $300,000 to $2 million.

When completed, phase one will resemble Intrawest’s condominiums, where owners can rent out the rooms like a hotel.


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