In a follow up to yesterday’s statement to address calls for the renaming Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver, Holborn CEO Joo Kim Tiah says his development company is unable to do so due to contractual obligations.
“While Holborn Group owns Trump Vancouver, we have contractual obligations to the Trump Organization, banks, purchasers, consultants, trades and business partners,” Joo Kim told Vancity Buzz upon returning from an overseas trip. “These legally-binding contracts cannot be altered.”
Removing the Trump Tower brand from the 63-storey, 617-foot-tall twisting tower would likely lead to years of litigation, ultimately ending with multi-million dollar financial penalties for the Holborn Group.
Moreover, the contract does not stop at the tower’s branding: Trump’s company will also manage and operate the 147-room hotel on the lower 15 storeys and oversee the building’s entertainment properties and amenities, such as the champagne lounge, Mott 32 signature Chinese restaurant, and Drai’s Pool Bar Nightclub.
The local developer has come under fire this week after Donald Trump announced his inflammatory plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States as part of his campaign to become the American president.
“Mr. Trump’s views are his own and are part of his political campaign,” Joo Kim continued. “As such, viewpoints expressed in political campaigns are not necessarily shared or endorsed by Holborn Group, a private real estate development company based in Vancouver. As a policy, we do not comment on political issues or agendas, be they local or foreign.”
However, Joo Kim added that Holborn Group has been committed to supporting multicultural social service agencies like SUCCESS over the long-term as they “strengthen our province’s diversity.” As well, the company also supports troubled local youth through the Vancouver Police Foundation and other non-profit organizations such as the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation and City in Focus.
The controversy began after former City of Vancouver urban planner Brent Toderian tweeted on Monday that the Trump brand should be removed. An online petition to rebrand the tower has garnered over 46,000 signatures in just a few days.
The hotel and amenities portion of the building are currently scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. The tower ‘topped out’ earlier this year, and construction has reached the final stages.
Virtually all of the 238 market residential units have already been sold. Approximately 300 people will be employed at the tower.
Designed by the late Arthur Erickson, the tower was originally proposed in 2007 with Ritz Carlton as the brand and hotel partner. But the development was stalled by the 2008 financial crisis, and the Ritz Carlton did not return to the project in 2011 when plans were revived.