Historic Hotel Vancouver up for sale

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Tyler Orton

The historic Hotel Vancouver is putting up a for sale sign after Quebec’s public pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, announced it was selling off the luxury building along with Toronto’s Royal York.

The fund’s real estate subsidiary, Ivanhoé Cambridge, has been selling off its hotels in recent years after determining they were not a strategic asset.

Ivanhoe spokesman Sébastien Theberge said the sale is purely related to the pension fund’s interest in doing away with all but three of its hotels.

“We used to own 70 hotels and now we’re down to seven up for sale and that was part of a long, proactive disposal of those assets,” he said, adding Victoria’s Empress Hotel is currently in the midst of a bidding process.

“At the same time, we’re increasing our investments in other asset classes.”

He pointed to Ivanhoe’s increased interest in West Coast real estate such as shopping malls.

Ivanhoe owns Surrey’s Guildford Town Centre, Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby and Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre. It is also behind the development of the Tsawwassen Mills shopping centre project.

Hotel Vancouver and the Royal York are both subject to management agreements with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, which operates both buildings.

Theberge said there are clauses in the agreements that provide for a change of ownership.

“Fairmont will have a final say in the choice of the investor,” he said.

“The (potential) investor will need to meet some criteria for financial capacity to sustain what it needs to run a hotel.”

Theberge added Ivanhoe has not established an asking price for either hotel and is not releasing to the public the company’s own estimation of their value.

Instead, he said Ivanhoe is engaging in a bidding process with potential investors.

“Their location and their iconic status make them very attractive to a lot of investors,” Theberge said, adding there has been interest from parties in both Canada and Asia.

Hotel Vancouver opened in 1939 and was the third building to bear that name.

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