Approval Granted for Sale of Garibaldi At Squamish

Garibaldi At Squamish

Following a period of receivership initiated in December and the securing of a stalking horse bid in January, the sale of the proposed Garibaldi At Squamish ski resort was expected to be finalized in March. However, a last-minute objection by the Province temporarily delayed the approval process. Subsequently, on May 3, the sale was officially approved, as documented in filings submitted to the Supreme Court.

The Garibaldi At Squamish project was a collaborative effort between Vancouver-based developers Aquilini Development and Northland Properties. Aquilini Development, owned by the Aquilini family, known for their ownership of the Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena, partnered with Northland Properties, owned by the Gaglardi family, prominent owners of Revelstoke Mountain Resort and the Dallas Stars. The project was announced as a 3.5 billion resort development in 2015.

Managed by Garibaldi At Squamish Inc. (GAS Inc.) and Garibaldi At Squamish Limited Partnership (GAS LP), the project did not involve direct ownership of the land — approximately 6,800 acres situated roughly 13 minutes north of downtown Squamish. Instead, GAS Inc. and GAS LP held the development rights, secured through an Environmental Assessment Certificate issued by the Province on January 26, 2016. This certificate imposed specific conditions, including construction prerequisites to be fulfilled by January 26, 2026, following an extension granted in 2021.

Last year, GAS Inc. and GAS LP faced insolvency due to the absence of physical and income-producing assets. Subsequently, creditors, including Aquilini Development Limited Partnership, Garibaldi Resort Management Company Ltd., and 1413994 BC Ltd., filed a demand for payment totaling $64,897,339.40 on August 3, 2023.

The bidding process, initiated in mid-January, led to the acceptance of a stalking horse bid of $80.41M, primarily offered by the aforementioned creditors. This bid, categorized as a credit bid, leveraged secured debt against the purchase of collateral.

Despite initial plans for multiple prospective buyers, no official offers emerged, prompting the approval of the stalking horse bid on March 15. However, the Province intervened, seeking an adjournment to review the transaction, particularly regarding the proposed “reverse vesting order” (RVO) associated with the sale.

RVOs involve the transfer of undesirable assets of an insolvent company to a third-party entity, facilitating the acquisition of desired assets without direct transfer. Despite objections, the judge overseeing the case approved the transaction, with the bid reduced by $20M to account for retained liabilities.

Although no physical work has commenced on-site, a comprehensive master plan has been drafted, with commitments from the purchasers to fulfill construction preconditions, including a $5.5M investment within the next 12 months.

The envisioned Garibaldi At Squamish ski resort is slated to be an expansive, all-season destination featuring extensive recreational facilities, including ski runs, residential units, and hospitality accommodations. Initial construction phases are anticipated to span 30 years, promising a transformative addition to the region’s tourism landscape.