Trump International Hotel Vancouver is permanently closed

Aug 27 2020, 9:50 pm

Three and a half years after it first opened its doors, Trump International Hotel and Tower Vancouver has permanently shuttered.

Sources wishing anonymity told Daily Hive Urbanized the hotel property has closed for good, and that staff were laid off Thursday. At its peak, the hotel’s operations employed about 250 people.

Daily Hive Urbanized also obtained a copy of the emailed letter by insolvency trustee Grant Thornton that was sent to employees informing them of layoffs.

On Thursday, TA Hotel Management, the local operating subsidiary of the hotel and tower, filed for bankruptcy, according to Canadian federal government records.

In filings to Malaysian regulators on Friday, TA Global Berhad, the parent company of TA Hotel Management, stated the impact of COVID-19 “has impacted the business and [its] financial position,” adding that “its ongoing expenses since the outbreak of COVID-19 and lack of revenue has placed TA Hotel Management into a position of insolvency.”

A letter from the strata council on Thursday also informed condominium owners that the hotel operator had laid off all staff, filed for bankruptcy, and permanently closed. The tower’s maintenance and operations — both the hotel and residential levels — are now under new management appointed by the tower’s owner.

And as of Friday at 1 pm PT, the Trump Vancouver hotel website has disappeared, and now redirects to the Trump Hotels global website, which no longer lists the Vancouver property. All social media accounts for the hotel have also been deactivated.

A formal announcement on the hotel’s closure and the property’s next steps is expected soon.

This closure also coincides with Thursday evening’s conclusion of the US Republican Party’s National Convention, with President Donald Trump formally accepting the party’s nomination from the White House lawn.

However, the property is not owned by the Trump Organization, but rather local developer Holborn Group, which built the 616-ft-tall, 63-storey tower at 1139 West Georgia Street. It is the second tallest building in Metro Vancouver, after Living Shangri-La directly across the street.

Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and now US President Donald Trump announcing the new Trump Tower Vancouver with Holborn Group CEO Joo Kim Tiah, Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs, and Magnum Projects’ George Wong in 2013. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

TA Hotel Management Trump Tower Vancouver employees

Copy of the layoff notice sent by email to Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver employees on August 27, 2020. (Grant Thornton)

Holborn Group reached an agreement with the Trump Organization in 2013 to use the real estate mogul’s hotel brand and management for the development.

The hotel’s 147 guest rooms, amenities, and ballrooms occupy the first 15 floors of the tower. The upper levels contain 217 upscale condominiums.

Daily Hive Urbanized has reached out to Holborn Group for comment. Calls were also made to the hotel, but they were not answered.

The future of the hotel property is unknown at this time, but over the years it has been the subject of much speculation that it could be taken over by another international hotel operator, such as the Four Seasons, which recently permanently closed its longtime location at CF Pacific Centre.

Vancouver Police officers and US Secret Service agents guard the main entrance into Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver from both the outside and inside during the grand opening of the property on February 28, 2017. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Trump Vancouver hotel first opened on February 28, 2017, and it was dogged by major protests, with the president’s three eldest children — Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric — in attendance at the grand opening, which was guarded by US Secret Service and the Vancouver Police.

In September 2018, Drai’s Vancouver Nightclub, featuring the city’s first pool bar, located within the hotel’s podium, permanently closed.

Although its branding has been controversial, the $360-million hotel and residential tower has won a number of awards over the years, including seven awards at the 2017 Americas Property Awards in the categories of development marketing, residential high-rise architecture, mixed-use development, best hotel architecture, best hotel interior, best new hotel construction and design, and best residential high-rise development.

Drai's Vancouver

Drai’s Vancouver Nightclub at Trump International Hotel and Tower Vancouver. (Drai’s Vancouver)

When the redevelopment was first publicly announced in 2007, Holborn Group had partnered with the Ritz-Carlton, and the tower was known as “The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton.”

The tower’s design of a triangular floor plate that twists 45 degrees as it rises was designed by famed local architect Arthur Erickson, who passed away in 2009.

But the project was suspended shortly after it was announced with the onset of the 2008 recession, which crippled global financial markets that provide the construction financing for such major projects. However, after the project was revived in the early 2010s, the Ritz-Carlton opted to not return to the partnership, forcing the developer to search for another hotel brand and operator.

To ensure the financial viability of the redevelopment’s revival, additional floors were squeezed into the tower by lowering the ceiling heights of most floors, allowing for a significant increase in the number of guest rooms and condominium units.

Prior to the tower’s construction, a concrete and steel skeleton structure of an unfinished mid-rise building was the longtime occupant of the development site.

In 2017, Trump’s name was also removed from a namesake hotel and residential tower in downtown Toronto; the 2012-opened Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto was rebranded as the St. Regis Toronto after undergoing an ownership change and renovation.

The new Trump Tower in Vancouver (Jenni Sheppard/Daily Hive)

The new Trump Tower in Vancouver (Jenni Sheppard/Daily Hive)

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