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An Italian entrepreneur has paid roughly $29.5 million for two adjacent properties in the Canadian ski resort town of Whistler, setting a record for the tony British Columbia community, local agents said.

The buyer is Salvatore “Sal” Spano, who works in the financial sector, public records show. 

One of the parcels, a house on roughly 7.3 acres, was sold by financier Gustiaman Deru, who splits his time between London and Whistler, according to people familiar with the deal. The other parcel is 9.8 acres of vacant land; the seller is unknown.

The house was listed for around $29.1 million last year and sold for about $23.9 million, the agents said. The vacant lot wasn’t publicly listed and sold off-market for roughly $5.6 million.

The contemporary house was designed by architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, which has designed
stores including the glass cube in New York, according to Max Thornhill of Engel & Volkers Whistler Brokerage, who represented the seller of the house with colleague Maggi Thornhill. Their client acquired the land for approximately $3.7 million around 2007, then built the house, he said.

Spano didn’t respond to a request for comment. He has homes in Europe and in New York, but he was looking for a summer home to escape the heat, said

John Ryan
of Whistler Real Estate Company, who represented Spano in the deal. He plans to build a guesthouse and staff quarters on the vacant lot, and has already engaged Bohlin Cywinski Jackson to design them, Ryan said.

Built around 2014, the house is roughly 7,700 square feet with five bedrooms and an 82-foot outdoor infinity pool that cantilevers over the mountainside. The residence is accessed by a blue glass-clad breezeway that leads to an interior courtyard, which has a steel-edged roofline that looks like the wing of an airplane, Thornhill said. A separate one-bedroom guesthouse has curved glass walls and 16-foot-high ceilings. There are also three garages, including a wood-lined bicycle garage. 

Deru didn’t respond to a request for comment. Thornhill said the design was heavily influenced by the seller’s travels. A metal-and-wood staircase in the center of the home was inspired by a bamboo structure in a Tokyo office building designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The curtain wall system was inspired by
head office in Italy. 

The interior courtyard has a steel-edged roofline that looks like the wing of an airplane.

Photo: Shane Reside/John Ryan

The house has a green roof, and most of the wood inside the house was reclaimed from trees that fell in Vancouver’s Stanley Park during a windstorm, according to Thornhill. “The builder called and said, ‘I have a line on 100 trees that fell over in the park. Should we buy them?’” Thornhill said. His client purchased a warehouse full of lumber and stored it for several years until he was ready to build. 

Ryan said Spano was drawn to the privacy, mountain views and unique architecture—the centerpiece of which is the pool. “It’s literally like a diving board going off a cliff,” he said. 

The deal is a “game-changer” for luxury real estate in Whistler, which has seen an influx of wealthy buyers since Covid, Ryan said. The prior record, set a few years ago, was for a home that sold for about $16.8 million, he said. Although there are homes in Whistler that are valued at roughly $40 million to $75 million, none have hit the market, Ryan said. “When I look at the Vails and Aspens of the world, we’re still a bargain,” he said.