A large family-owned hotel chain is buying up the Horseshoe Valley property where two timeshare resorts had been operating until January.
During a court appearance Thursday broadcast over YouTube, Justice Barbara Conway indicated she would approve the sale of Carriage Ridge and Carriage Hills to Toronto-based Sunray Group of Hotels Inc.
The Ontario Superior Court is overseeing the liquidation of the property.
Founded in 2006, Sunray Group is family-owned and specializes in hospitality and development. The Sunray Group of Hotels partners with the major brands in the hospitality industry, including Marriott, Hilton, Best Western, IHG and Choice.
According to its website, it currently owns and operates 53 hotels, has more than 25 developments and employs more than 6,500 people across Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland.
The Sunray Group owns the Champlain Hotel in Orillia, the Best Western Plus Mariposa on Memorial Avenue in Orillia and is building a new Hampton Inn and Suites in the city. They also own the Bayview Wildwood Resort.
Sunray had not yet responded to requests for comment prior to publication on how the Oro-Medonte Township property, located south of Orillia, will be used and whether the existing buildings will remain.
As receiver for all the properties attached to Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge, BDO Canada arranged the marketing and sale of the properties.
BDO lawyer Sanjeev Mitra told the court there was a “robust marketing process internationally” through Colliers International commercial real estate services.
The initial run of offers led to 14 letters of intent followed by a bidding process in which eight offers were made — all of them for both Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge.
The highest and best bidder was subsequently chosen, Mitra said.
Financial details of the deal are to remain confidential until it is closed, which is expected in 30 days.
“That’s very customary in these types of transactions,” Justice Conway confirmed during the hearing, which was being viewed by up to 900 people that had signed into the YouTube streaming. “The court has had the benefit of seeing this confidential information.”
The purchaser has made a deposit representing 7.5 per cent of the purchase price, the remainder of which will be paid upon closing.
Mitra said a plan would then be developed in the ensuing months to pay out the thousands of timeshare members, which will be presented to the court likely in August.
The buyer agreed to waive a due-diligence process on the property, meaning there would be no reduction of the sale price, he added.
“I have absolutely no difficulty accepting the receiver’s recommendation,” the judge said at the conclusion of the hearing.
Approximately 11,400 individual members own a total of 17,408 “intervals” in the two properties on a total of 28 acres sitting atop the Horseshoe ski resort and across the Third Concession from the Vetta Finnish spa, which is under construction.
Wyndham Destinations, which was managing the property until it closed in January, owns 1,581 of the intervals in the two resorts.
Carriage Ridge had 78 units within three buildings on eight acres, and Carriage Hills had 172 units in eight buildings on 20 acres running independently from Horseshoe Resort.