TORONTO (Reuters) - Ecoasis, a Canadian real estate developer, has started a strategic review of the Bear Mountain resort in British Columbia, which could lead to a potential sale, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Any deal would include 772 acres in the resort area, one of the biggest pieces of land that is expected to come up for sale in Canada this year, as well as contracts to run two golf courses, a Westin hotel and a spa, the sources said, declining to be named as the matter is not yet public. The Westin hotel chain is owned by Marriott International (MAR.O).
Ecoasis has hired Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL.N), the real estate services firm, as exclusive adviser to explore a sale, the people said.
Ecoasis, which has properties in Whistler, Victoria and Hawaii, focuses on acquiring land and developing residential and resort properties.
The move comes as foreign buyers show increasing interest in the Canadian real estate market, and the assets are expected to attract interest from both domestic and global players.
The project has a gross development value of well over C$1 billion ($729.71 million), the sources said.
As the property has been zoned with the necessary permits, a potential buyer would be able to build residential buildings such as single-family and townhouses as well as condominiums, the sources added.
Pension funds have also been looking at land and development assets. In 2013, British Columbia Investment Management Corp acquired a Canada Post office site. Earlier this year, BCIMC's QuadReal Property Group bought Vancouver's Oakridge Centre, a retail mall with redevelopment potential, in a deal which sources pegged at more than C$1 billion.
($1 = 1.3704 Canadian dollars)
Reporting by John Tilak; Editing by Denny Thomas and Jeffrey Benkoe