Canmore investors moving ahead

…. after Bridgecreek given the boot.

Canmore Investors

108 investors
$15 million, a resurrection; Innoka Resort rises on site of Bighorn Mountain Resort

By Marty Hope, Calgary Herald September 18, 2010

They wanted their money back, to be sure — but at the same time, they wanted their second home back as well.

Innoka Resort — a 20-unit development at Kananaskis Way and Montane Road in Canmore — is being created in response to the frustration of a group of investors.

They found themselves left in the lurch when the developer of what was then called Bighorn Mountain Resort went into receivership in 2009.

With the total support of 108 investors who have put up $15 million of their own money, Richard LeBlanc is spearheading the redevelopment of the recreation property.

To help relaunch the project, a shaman from the nearby Stoney reserve cleansed the land of the bad karma and blessed the investors on their quest toward success.

As CEO of Innoka Point Resort Corp. and an investor in the previous venture, LeBlanc says the project is “an exercise in the repatriation of lost equity.”

The fractional ownership development will have 20 units in five blocks, with units ranging from 2,500 to 2,700 square feet.

Based on a one-eighth ownership, prices begin at $165,000 in the first block, says Cara Katterhagen, an investor and director of marketing for Innoka.

LeBlanc has been CEO since March — and in the interim, he has cleared the required legal roadblocks to allow investors to purchase the property and to carry on with completion of the development.

“While there are strong and lingering emotional tones still, the reality is that we are in the business of developing a resort — and that we must do so ourselves,” says LeBlanc.

As a result, a vision of success has arisen from a financial nightmare — and that vision, is closer to becoming reality each day now that work has resumed on the partially completed development.

The resort’s existing footprint will be used.

Each unit has three bedrooms (each with their own ensuite), a media room with a pullout sofa, flat-screen TVs, as well as granite or stone counters.

Other features include slate and hardwood flooring, high-end commercial appliances, stacked in-suite laundry, garage with private storage, and three decks.

Prices in the first phase for the exterior units start at $165,000, while interior units start at $175,000. These units will be first offered to investors (shareholders and associates), says Katterhagen.

While prices for subsequent blocks haven’t been finalized, they could be $5,000 higher.

Prices are based on an eighth share, giving each owner six weeks of usage in one week increments throughout the year on a rotating schedule.

LeBlanc hopes to have the first block complete by the end of October.

Completion of the remaining blocks will depend on sales, but as each block is at least partially constructed, construction time frames are expected to be about six to eight weeks per block.

This is a phased development; construction will depend on the sales pace. It is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete the project.

In addition to the residences, there is also a 5,000-square-foot amenities building on site.

The use of the building has not been finally determined, but it will include a hot tub, exercise room, and quite possibly a restaurant/ lounge and a spa.

The building is also mostly constructed and requires interior finishing. Owners and guests will have full access to all the facilities. The zoning for Innoka is commercial, which limits occupancy to 30 day — therefore, it cannot be used as a permanent residence.

The company has chosen to sell Innoka as eighths, keeping prices under $200,000 and broadening market accessibility to a larger group of buyers.

If owners cannot or choose not to use their unit, they can place it in a rental pool, which will generate income and leverage their investment.

Innoka Resort will incorporate a First Nations theme, which includes using sustainable material wherever possible, as well as sacred materials — for example, using sage in the landscaping plan.

There will also be the use of symbols, with the biggest one, at least visually, involving First Nations artwork. Each unit will mostly feature original works by First Nations artists.

“The effort to re-start construction and to inherit self-operation — there is no money for an external party to make profit — requires a strong mentality of backfilling lost equity,” says LeBlanc. “We do not dream of making a profit building, though we may come close. It is simply of reducing our loss.”

The effort and challenge put into building and selling Innoka has resulted in the creation of another company, Buzz Resorts Corp., that will operate Innoka, which will become a condo corporation, he says.

“We will not simply build and sell, but we will stand behind what we complete and support it going forward through Buzz,” says LeBlanc, adding that this will also open up revenue and asset channels for investors and may provide a “beachhead” for future endeavours.


PROJECT: Innoka Resort will have 20 timeshare units developed in five blocks. It is the result of a group of 108 investors in a previous project that went into receivership banding together to bring it back to life — and completion.

DEVELOPER: Innoka Point Resort Corp.

AREA: Canmore (Kananaskis Way and Montane Road).

PRICE: Based on a one-eighth ownership, prices begin at $165,000.


© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Note: Thanks Richard for the heads up on this and Good Luck!

from John Prince
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5 Responses to Canmore investors moving ahead

  1. It’s great to see that something can rise like a Phoenix from the ashes, after a black blemish is left behind, as a result of being left in the lurch.

    Can we say River Run??

  2. John Prince says:

    We need to see to it that it happens here too. That should be one of our top priorities once the next council gets going.

  3. Absolutely!!! I think most will agree.

    Our valley needs to see some positive action happen. Our future depends upon it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Although the creditor-turned-developer story of Innoka is indeed good news which may foretell the future of River Run & Crowsnest Lake, it’s also important to recognize that this will likely be more of an exercise in ‘minimizing losses’ than ‘maximizing profits’ for investors.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I drove by in March 2012 and it looked like the $105M and blessings didn’t work out – or did it for a select few? What ever will happen to this poor development?

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