Vancouver’s Trump International Hotel closes as operator files for bankruptcy
VANCOUVER -- It appears the days of having the Trump name emblazoned on a prominent hotel tower in downtown Vancouver are coming to an end.
The Trump International Hotel on Georgia Street has been controversial for its name since opening its doors in Vancouver amid a flurry of protests in 2017.
Documents obtained by CTV News from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada show the hotel operator, TA Hotel Management Ltd., filed for bankruptcy on Thursday. The first meeting of creditors is expected on Sept. 16.
Signage on the hotel indicates it was originally shut down due to COVID-19 on April 4, in a move that was expected to be temporary. But the front entrance to the hotel remains boarded up and the hotel’s online booking system is not working.
A staff member reached by phone about making a reservation early Friday said the hotel was no longer taking reservations as it had been closed permanently, and staff members at the hotel had been notified they were being laid-off.
The employee said the information was still “new” to those workers and they were waiting for more details from management.
It’s unclear how many employees, who are not unionized, would be affected by the closure.
CTV News has reached out to developer Holborn Group, which has a licensing agreement to use the Trump name.
There was major backlash to the idea of opening a Trump tower in Vancouver before doors even opened on the building.
Then-mayor Gregor Robertson wrote to Holborn in 2015 on behalf of citizens asking the developer to “quickly” remove the branding from the project. Robertson also asked the city manager to explore whether the city could have forced the developer to remove the name.
“Trump’s name and brand have no more place on Vancouver’s skyline than his ignorant ideas have in the modern world,” Robertson wrote.
Vancouver city councillor Kerry Jang echoed those sentiments in 2016 calling the tower “a beacon of racism."
"I was terrified," Joo Kim of Holborn Development told The Associated Press in 2017. "The people who ran the city were not happy with me. I was scared, but I think they understand. They understand that I'm trapped into -- not trapped, locked into -- an agreement."
The developer said he would have had no legal grounds to back out of the licensing deal, the terms of which have not been publicly released. "There would be severe legal implications," he said.
The tower also has private residences on its upper floors. It appears residents had been sharing some amenities and staff with the hotel so it is unclear what impact the closure will have on the building’s permanent tenants.
CTV News has reached out to Holborn for further comment.
With files from the Associated Press