Nova Scotia

Province in the red on sale of Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa

Nova Scotia has effectively sold the Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa to private owners for $0, and will also be on the hook for $500,000 in closing costs and brokerage fees.

2012 real estate appraisal assessed resort's value at $0, due to overdue upgrades

A 2015 appraisal estimated it would cost $4.9 million for basic maintenance and upgrades at the Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa. (Digbypines.ca)

Nova Scotia has effectively sold the Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa to private owners for $0, and will also be on the hook for $500,000 in closing costs and brokerage fees.

A news release from the province's Business Department said the property was sold to Halifax business owners Besim Halef and Glenn Squires and the Bear River First Nation for $1 million, but the government agreed to provide a $1-million credit for needed upgrades.

During the sale's due diligence phase, engineers discovered the main building needed substantial mechanical, electrical and structural work.

A real estate appraisal in 2012 declared the property value at $0, due to overdue upgrades and renovations.

The sale includes the Digby Pines Golf Course.

In a statement, Business Minister Geoff MacLellan said the sale is a "tremendous opportunity for the community and the tourism sector."

The Digby Pines Golf Course is included in the sale. (Richard Woodbury/CBC)

"Government should not be in the business of running Digby Pines. That is why we are pleased to have private-sector investors committed to reviving this important asset."

Pacrim Hospitality Services Inc., based in Halifax, will manage the property on behalf of the three partners.

The new owners will also invest $6.9 million over five years for upgrades.

Chief Carol Dee Potter of Bear River First Nation said the renovations will help transform Digby Pines into a "destination resort that captures the Mi'kmaq culture and the spirit of Nova Scotia.

"This partnership opens up new guest experiences, such as the creation of year-round, adventure-focused programming that will share local First Nations stories," she said in a news release.

Squires, CEO of Pacrim Hospitality, said in the release that the partners will also be exploring growth opportunities, including creating "strong ties to the Chinese market."

The province, which has owned Digby Pines for 30 years, has been funding annual operating losses of about $765,000.

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