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O'Neill Hotels acquires full ownership of Powder Resort Properties from Intrawest John O'Neill, President of O'Neill Hotels & Resorts Ltd., doesn't like to do anything halfway. For the past five and a half years, O'Neill Hotels and Blackcomb Skiing Enterprises Ltd. have co-owned Powder Resort Properties in Whistler, with O'Neill handling the management side of operations that currently span 12 buildings and more than 1,000 units. With the completion of the Westin Resort & Spa next March, O'Neill decided that his company, which he runs with his brother, Rob, was ready to buy out Blackcomb's share of Powder. "We came to the conclusion that we have a long-term commitment to Whistler, so why not own all of our business," says O'Neill. "We don't have to be a property management company any more." Once the transaction is completed in March, O'Neill hotels will be able to offer more than 1,400 units in the Whistler area and will likely be the town's second largest employer, next to Whistler-Blackcomb. O'Neill says his company will continue to operate on good terms with Whistler-Blackcomb, and that the two companies will work closely in the future in resort marketing and packaging. "We took the initiative and went to them and said we've grown to the point where we'd like to buy you out. They decided they didn't want to be in property management any more, but in the business of running the hill, and increasing the number of skier visits." Powder Properties include such prestigious hotels as the Radisson Aspens, Le Chamois, and the Residence Inn by Marriott. With the addition of the Westin the company will be in a position to attract new convention and meeting business to Whistler. In addition to its Whistler business O’Neill Hotels operates the new Westin Grand Hotel in Vancouver and New Westminster’s Inn at Westminster Quay. Between June 1997 and March 1999 the company co-founded and operated Canadian Hotel Income Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (CHIP REIT), Canada’s first hotel REIT which currently owns 36 hotels. In March of this year O’Neill Hotels sold its CHIP Management division to CHIP REIT. O’Neill Hotels remains a significant shareholder of CHIP REIT. O’Neill’s Whistler business will continue to be headed by Drew Stotesbury, senior vice president and managing director, Dale Pruden, vice president marketing and sales, and Victor Burt, general manager of the Westin Resort and Spa in Whistler.