With foreign investors snapping up recreational properties in B.C., the sale of a family-run Tofino resort has gone against the tide.
The Pacific Sands Beach Resort, with 77 rooms on more than 40 acres, was built by Bill and Joan Pettinger in the '70s. The family has sold the beachfront property on Cox Bay to Gordon Nelson, an apartment building and investment company based in Vancouver.
Chinese-owned Adestra Hotel Group, which bought Harrison Hot Springs Resort for $32.3 million in 2013, was rumoured to be bidding for the Tofino property. But the Pettingers went with a local buyer.
"If you’d asked me what kind of buyer we envisioned — an investment trust, a big resort company, an offshore buyer or local — we would immediately have said local and these guys came to the top. They are younger versions of us," Rick Pettinger told The Times Colonist.
"One aspect of this sale that we're very proud of is the fact that this resort was created and developed by a local family for the past 42 years, and it will continue to be a part of another local family-run business moving forward," said Jason Gordon, co-owner of Gordon Nelson, in an email to The Huffington Post B.C.
Robert Brown, one of the partners in the deal, noted that he spent part of his honeymoon 22 years ago in a suite at Pacific Sands.
British Columbia has been a popular place for overseas investors, particularly from Asia, to buy homes, but the interest has moved to businesses in recent years.
Tourism properties are especially hot, as foreign buyers look to capitalize on the increasing number of Chinese tourists to B.C., reported Business in Vancouver. Those visitors have jumped 80 per cent since 2009.
Four hotels in Victoria and Richmond are now run by Chinese owners, said the magazine.
Last winter, a Chinese group bought the ghost town of Bradian, north of Whistler, and plans to turn into it into a recreational attraction.
In the spring of 2014 alone, various Chinese investors purchased a 43-acre island on the southern B.C. coast, a 156-acre farm in Langley, and a golf and country club in Sechelt.
Pacific Sands was put on the market in the summer of 2013 for $29.8 million, reported The Times Colonist.
Gordon Nelson is considering opening Pacific Sands' pool for local resident swims and continue sponsoring local groups and events, as they did when they bought Ocean Village Resorts, also in Tofino, said co-owner Chris Nelson.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: