Bella Gelateria locations in Vancouver sold in bidding war

A world-class Vancouver gelato business marred by a family feud has sold two of its locations, one of which will be rebranded — despite the sole director recently saying there was "no intention" of shutting down.

Bella Gelateria, a $3-million-a-year venture, had three locations: one in Coal Harbour, one in Yaletown and another in the Olympic Village.

Last week, the former two were sold in a bidding war in B.C. Supreme Court — Coal Harbour for $1.6 million and Yaletown for $428,000, according to one of the new owners.

The company's assets, including three storefronts, were listed for sale last month amid bankruptcy proceedings. The gelateria was marketed as 16 parts, including the brand name, locations and leases.

At the time, sole director Anna Coleridge said there was "no intention to shut down," adding that the listing was only to attract "new investment."

On Friday, she said selling was the only way to salvage some of the business.

"If Bella Gelateria did not bring on new investment ... it would likely have ceased to operate and become bankrupt," she wrote in an email.

The sale of the Coal Harbour location, which went to Feng Wang, included the operating assets, the Bella Gelateria brand and recipes — meaning the business could continue to run as usual under its new owner.

The Yaletown location was purchased by the owners of the Bellagio cafés in Vancouver. Emil Malak said the old gelateria is going to come "under their umbrella" and be renovated into a new retaurant called Baggio.

He said it would be more of a pizzeria but with notes from the old gelateria.

"They just overspent ... but we're going to try to do our best to keep that same style," said Malak, who is a friend of the Bella's master gelatier, James Coleridge. "I'm not going to change that part."

The Coleridges both say they have been separated for years and each held half the shares of the company.

James said the business ran into trouble as he and Anna feuded. She took over as sole director last year and James claims he was cut out of the business after that.

Bella Gelateria has won more than two dozen awards since it was opened in 2009, both local and international.

With files from Yvette Brend