New owners of Sooke Harbour House want to bring a modern look to the historic property built in 1929 that formerly attracted movie stars was the backdrop for movie-set locations. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

New owners of Sooke Harbour House want to bring a modern look to the historic property built in 1929 that formerly attracted movie stars was the backdrop for movie-set locations. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

New owners of Sooke Harbour House aim for fall 2021 re-opening

Historic property sold for $5.6 million

When Alex Watson closes his eyes and imagines what the Sooke Harbour House could become, he envisions a boutique destination resort.

“The trick is that it obviously needs a little bit of work,” said Watson, the chief operating officer of IAG Enterprises Ltd., a North Vancouver real estate company that recently bought the historic property for $5.632 million.

“We’re coming in cold, so we have to go through each room, figuring out what needs to be done.”

The sale of the one-hectare waterfront site with 28 rooms is complete, and IAG staff are assessing what upgrades the 1929 building needs. The historic property houses a 62-seat restaurant and a 50-seat bar at the end of Whiffin Spit Road.

The hotel and restaurant, known for its world-class dining experience, themed-guest rooms and gardens, sold after being on the market since April, with an original asking price of $5.6 million.

The Harbour House was wrapped up in various legal actions, including an ownership battle between the Sooke couple who bought the hotel in 1979 and a couple of corporations that were in share-purchase agreements.

Black Press Media reached out to former co-owner Frederique Philip for comment.

READ MORE: Hollywood comes to Sooke

“The restaurant put this part of the Island on the map,” Watson said. “You can’t replicate a location like this place filled with so much history and goodwill.”

Watson isn’t a stranger to the beloved building that has attracted visits by movie stars and served as a movie-set location. He has fond memories with roommates from college in Sooke and family friends that live in the district too.

The new owners hope to emphasize a West Coast vibe, with architecture and design that fits with the area. They’re looking at the potential for a spa facility to relax and unwind and considering working with local tour groups to boost tourism.

Watson said he knows the building is starting to show age. After his first walk-through, he pointed out that there needs to be electrical work, new carpets, and the roof might need a second look as well.

He wants to keep the Sooke Harbour House’s historic look and feel, but make it more modern.

IAG is in discussions to bring in several big-name food and beverage groups to the property.

The Harbour House aims to be fully operational by fall 2021, but Watson says nothing is set in stone.

ALSO READ: Selling inn not an easy decision


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

developmentSooke

 

New owners of Sooke Harbour House want to bring a modern look to the historic property built in 1929 that formerly attracted movie stars was the backdrop for movie-set locations. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

New owners of Sooke Harbour House want to bring a modern look to the historic property built in 1929 that formerly attracted movie stars was the backdrop for movie-set locations. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

New owners of Sooke Harbour House want to bring a modern look to the historic property built in 1929 that formerly attracted movie stars was the backdrop for movie-set locations. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

New owners of Sooke Harbour House want to bring a modern look to the historic property built in 1929 that formerly attracted movie stars was the backdrop for movie-set locations. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Just Posted

SIG
Policing amid pandemic challenging, says Sooke’s top cop

Mounties document reduction in property crime and impaired driving

Patrick OLeary won $1 million in the March 24 draw of the Lotto 6/49. (BCLC image)
Sooke man cashes $1-million lottery ticket

The excavator operator had to look twice to confirm the win

(Black Press Media file photo)
Gas leak at Colwood Corners

Emergency crews on scene

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Gorge skull fragment could bring closure to one Greater Victoria missing person case

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

Victoria police will be working to arrest as many people with active warrants as possible during #VicPDWarrantWednesday May 12. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police aim to make sweeping arrests during #VicPDWarrantWednesday

Officers working to locate people with active arrest warrants

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

This house at 1514 Trumpeter Cres. in Courtenay is currently for sale, with a disclaimer that the property was used in a cannabis grow operation in the past. Photo by Record staff
Drug trafficking at Vancouver Island residence nets over $250K forfeiture

Ruling comes from a search warrant executed in 2016 on Trumpeter Crescent home

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

A Mountie issued B.C. RCMP’s first ticket for non-essential travel May 1. (Black Press Media files)
Driver ticketed, told to ‘return to Lower Mainland immediately’ by Vancouver Island police

The motorist was originally pulled over for driving-related offences May 1

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

Adam Hamdan has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorist charges given temporary residence in Canada

Adam Hamdan had been facing deportation to Jordan, where he holds citizenship through his Palestinian parents

Most Read