Chinese real-estate developer buys entire town north of Whistler, British Columbia

A ghost town in British Columbia’s Bridge River Valley about two hours north of Whistler finally has a new owner — a Chinese real estate developer.

Bradian, which had been on the market since 2010 for $995,000, was bought by the China Zhong Ya Group Hebei Canada-China Co. last week, said John Lovelace of Sutton Seafair Realty who was involved in the deal.

The deal included title to the entire town, which has 22 buildings and covers 50 acres.

Included is everything from the streets to fire hydrants, with hydro power and telephone lines — although the services will require upgrading.

“We had an unbelievable response from potential buyers all over the world, but at the end of the day we feel that the China Zhong Yung Group will be a good fit,” Mr. Lovelace said.

“The company told us they plan to rehabilitate the town but I think they are prepared to take the time to plan everything out first. That planning process will undoubtedly take considerable time.”

The property had been used as a summer retreat by Tom and Katherine Gutenberg who bought it in 1997.

Bradian was planned to be a suburb of the neighbouring community of Bralorne, home to a still-functioning gold operation.

The little town was spared the fate of another nearby hamlet, Pioneer, that was levelled when its mine closed.

Mr. Lovelace believes there is a changing trend among Asian buyers.

“The first wave of investors who came to Vancouver were mainly interested in buying single family homes and condos,” he said.

“This new wave of buyers are getting more sophisticated, and they are looking at investing outside of places like Richmond and West Vancouver. Now they are looking at properties all over B.C. like farms, ranches, and businesses, and in this case an entire town!”

“I think it bodes well for the areas of rural B.C. that need the investment,” he added.

Consultant Mike Mills said there is lots of snow in the area, but it’s not that cold, making it ideal for winter sports like snowmobiling or skiing. There are several lakes nearby for fishing, boating, whitewater rafting and swimming, along with plenty of scenic areas to hike.