Holborn releases statement over Trump Tower Vancouver branding controversy

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Image: Holborn Group

The developer of Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver has released a statement over the controversy of using Donald Trump’s name for the branding of downtown Vancouver’s second tallest tower.

The controversy began after Brent Toderian, the City of Vancouver’s former director of planning, tweeted that local developer Holborn Group should remove the name from the tower. This was a response to the Republican presidential candidate’s anti-Muslim comments earlier in the week that called for the “complete shutdown” of Muslims from arriving in the United States in the wake of the recent terror attacks.

In addition to social media commentary, two online petitions against the tower’s naming have already garnered approximately 20,000 signatures at the time of this article’s publication.

There have also been similar calls in Toronto for building owners to drop the Trump name from the city’s very own Trump International Hotel and Tower. The Toronto property opened in early-2012.

Here is the full statement from Holborn Group CEO Joo Kim Tiah:

Holborn is a Vancouver-based private real estate development company that owns Trump Vancouver. When Trump Vancouver opens in 2016, we will create as many as 300 jobs. Holborn, a company that has contributed immensely to the growth of Vancouver, is not in any way involved in US politics. As such, we would not comment further on Mr Trump’s personal or political agenda, nor any political issues, local or foreign. Our efforts remain focused on the construction of what will soon be the finest luxury property in Vancouver and beyond.

Holborn announced Trump’s involvement in ‘Vancouver Turns’ during a June 2013 press conference that was attended by Donald himself.

Under the partnership agreement, the Trump brand is licensed to Holborn group for the use of marketing and branding the $360-million project, which consists of 63 storeys that gradually twists 45 degrees as it ascends to its ultimate height of 617 feet.

Trump Hotel Collection will also operate the 147-room hotel, champagne lounge, Mott 32 signature Chinese restaurant, and Drai’s Pool Bar Nightclub within the first 15 storeys of the building. The remaining floors are occupied by 238 market residential units ranging from 644 to 2,117 square feet, and the penthouses between 3,500 and 4,400 square feet.

Virtually all of the residential units are sold out, and the project has reached substantial completion. The hotel is expected to open in the fall of 2016.

The developer had originally proposed the tower in 2007, but it was postponed shortly after when the effects of the recession began to take its toll on the real estate and financial markets. At the time, the development’s brand and hotel partner was Ritz Carlton, but the international hotel chain did not return to the project when it was revived in 2011.

The tower’s twisting design is by the late Arthur Erickson. The essential architectural elements of the tower’s design remain the same under the Trump brand.

Of course, it is highly unlikely that the tower will be rebranded given the severe legal and financial consequences of cancelling the contract with Trump.

Image: Holborn Group

Image: Holborn Group


 

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Kenneth Chan Deputy Editor & Social Media Manager at Vancity Buzz. He covers stories pertaining to local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and anything else that makes a difference in the lives of Vancouverites. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]vancitybuzz.com
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