More Shuffling in Ben Eoin

Consider this a postscript to my story about the flurry of real estate activity I dubbed the Ben Eoin shuffle back in September.

It seems yet another property in the neighborhood of the ski hill and marina is about to change hands.

Top of the hill, Aerie Estates. The Spectator took the photo but did not burn the rubber.

Top of the hill, Aerie Estates. The Spectator took the photo but did not burn the rubber.

This time, it’s the 1.6 hectare lot at the top of the hill adjacent to the ski hill proper — a lot earmarked for a hotel by Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation (ECBC) when it first embarked on its mission to turn Ben Eoin into a four-seasons resort area. A lot that is accessed by a $1.1 million road constructed by ECBC and now owned by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM).

The other 16 lots on that hill — the ones making up what used to be called the Aerie Estates — have all been sold, as I noted in that last story. One sold back in 2013, when ECBC first put the properties on the market. When ECBC was dissolved a year later, the Ben Eoin properties — along with any other real estate the development agency owned — were transferred to Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and those determined to be “surplus” were slated for sale. PSPC sold the remaining 15 Aerie Estates lots last April to Mike Kenny, Troy Wilson, Rodney Colbourne, Steve MacDougall, Siva Thanamayooran and Glen Brann of 3312636 Nova Scotia Limited. In August, PSPC sold the land under the Ben Eoin Marina to the same group.

As for the latest Ben Eoin property to go on the block, I don’t know who bought it — but I know who didn’t. I was told last week by someone with knowledge of the deal (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase) that the Cape Breton Ski Club’s bid on the hilltop property (apparently made through its for-profit Ski Ben Eoin arm) was turned down. My source said the club was disappointed in the decision, as it had originally owned all the land that later became the Aerie Estates.

I contacted PSPC to ask who had bought the property — and what the rationale in turning down the Ski Club was. Aaron Bower, PSPC senior communications advisor, told me in an email:

As the sale of the property you’re asking about has not been finalized, the name of the winning bidder cannot be released at this time. Once the sale has been completed, a representative from PSPC will contact you with the name of the winning bidder.

With regard to your question re: the ski club, during the construction of Aerie Estates, the property in question was purchased by the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation (ECBC), and it became federal property at that time. The property was transferred to PSPC when ECBC was dissolved in June 2014, and it was deemed to be surplus to the Government of Canada’s operational requirements.

When disposing of surplus properties, PSPC is committed to following an open and transparent process to ensure best value for Canadians. The disposal process, which in this instance led to the property being listed on MLS through a realtor, allowed all interested parties, including Ski Ben Eoin, the opportunity to bid on the property. All offers to purchase the property were reviewed by PSPC to determine which offer represented the best value for Canada.

What remains to be seen is if the offer that represents “the best value for Canada” also represents another bargain for 3312636 Nova Scotia Limited.

Watch that space.





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