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The Challenge

Cushman & Wakefield was retained by Ivanhoé Cambridge as exclusive advisors in the sale of its iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. The Fairmont Image 477-room luxury hotel was deemed a non-core asset by Ivanhoé Cambridge, a global real estate investor with over $40 billion in assets. Ivanhoé Cambridge is owned by the Caisse de depot, one of the Canada’s largest pension funds. Because of the hotel’s iconic status both within the city of Victoria and Canada as a whole, our client was only willing to sell to a buyer who appreciated the hotel’s cultural value and had the means and desire to invest in its total restoration. “The Empress is one of the great hotels – truly a national treasure,” said Curtis Gallagher, Vice President of Hotel Investments for Cushman & Wakefield. “It was essential that we find a buyer who appreciated the hotel for what it truly is.”

 


The Solution

Cushman & Wakefield’s Curtis Gallagher had a longstanding relationship with the client, and understood that they wanted to sell the asset. Before beginning a formal dialogue with the client, he worked closely with his counterparts in the Vancouver and Victoria, Canada offices to conduct a global search to identify the best potential buyer. After this search was successfully completed, Cushman & Wakefield was awarded a mandate to sell the asset. This collaboration brought both hotel and local market expertise together in a way that achieved the best result for the client. Once Ivanhoé Cambridge agreed to move forward, Curtis worked to ensure that the buyer was focused on the asset profile and its ultimate upside, in addition to the immediate economic value of the transaction. This ensured both parties achieved their respective goals and came to an agreement.

“The Empress is one of the great hotels – truly a national treasure,” said Curtis Gallagher, Vice President of Hotel Investments for Cushman & Wakefield. “It was essential that we find a buyer who appreciated the hotel for what it truly is.”


The Result

The property was ultimately sold to Vancouver real estate developer Nat Bosa and his wife Flora. The couple fell in love with this prestigious property and intend to restore it to its former glory through significant capital investment. This acquisition represented their first hotel purchase and remains one of the largest hotel investment deals ever in Canada.

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