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HomeBusinessCapilano University’s Quest takeover bill reaches $118 million 

Capilano University’s Quest takeover bill reaches $118 million 


Bob Mackin 

Capilano University spent another $55 million to buy three of the four dorm buildings at the former Quest University, according to a May 29 announcement from the B.C. NDP government.

Student housing at ex-Quest University (NAI)

Last August, the province and university bought the 18-acre campus for $63.2 million from Primacorp after Quest suspended operations earlier in the year. It is expected to reopen under Capilano University management in fall 2024. 

Post-Secondary Education Minister Lisa Beare said in a news release that the ministry provided $48 million and the university the other $7 million for the three-building complex, which will house 333 students. 

Primacorp owned the land under four vacant dorm buildings that contain 416 student residential units. Each was assessed at $11.072 million. The buildings belonged to the company that built them, Southern Star Developments. In an affidavit in November 2020, Southern Star president Michael Hutchison said his company spent $41.7 million to build the residences specifically for student use, with financing from a Bank of Montreal mortgage. 

The NDP government said each building has 89 beds in single rooms paired with a shared washroom, six double-bed occupancy units with washrooms and five accessible single units with private washrooms. Each building has one two-bedroom and one three-bedroom apartment, containing a kitchen and washroom. 

Primacorp paid $43 million for the land and university buildings to rescue Quest out of court protection from creditors in December 2020 and agreed to provide student recruitment, marketing and fundraising services for Quest. Quest’s biggest lender, the Vanchorverve Foundation, had demanded repayment of $23.4 million at the start of 2020. 

Researcher Vivian Krause said police need to probe the full history of land investments in Squamish’s Garibaldi Highlands.

“I beg the premier, b-e-g, to halt the expenditure of public funding and ask the RCMP to investigate,” Krause said. 

Land titles records dated May 8 show Northwest Territories diamond mining pioneer Stewart Blusson owns a nearly 10-acre, vacant parcel worth $4.46 million. Lot 12, as it is known, is near the university at 3348 Mamquam Road.

Blusson reportedly made a $32 million donation to establish Quest University in 2002. His Eden Glen Foundation lost its Canada Revenue Agency charitable status last year over a nearly $5 million gift to a numbered company when it sold one of Quest’s original land parcels in 2018.

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