Vancouver, B.C., developers must rely on the Donald Trump name to bring in enough buyers to warrant a major luxury condominium construction project on West Georgia Street, in what will be the city’s second-tallest building when completed.
Originally billed as a 127-room Ritz-Carlton hotel and condo combination building over five years ago, the Holborn Group project was chained up both literally and figuratively during the financial collapse of 2008. Now the 60-plus-story tower’s foundation has started taking shape again and the Arthur Erickson design of twisting glass has new direction, with Holborn reportedly agreeing to stamp the tower with the Trump International brand.
While CBC reports Trump won’t actually invest in the 617 ft tall tower, simply selling his brand and name to the developers for the second Trump project in Canada—there is also a 65-story Trump tower in Toronto—and Holborn hasn’t officially announced Trump International as the name of the new structure, Trump and daughter Ivanka are said to be on their way to Vancouver for a June 19 new conference.
The Vancouver Sun reports that before cancelling the original hotel-condo project for good in 2009, Holborn had sold about half of the 123 condos, with sale prices ranging from $1.4 million all the way to $28 million. This project will be on a smaller scale.
Local experts now turn to the question of whether or not Vancouver can support another high-end luxury building considering that the city’s tallest structure, the Shangri-La hotel-condo combination, which opened 62 stories at 659 ft tall in 2009, sits across the street from the new Trump location.
The 1133 West Georgia property hasn’t been without its past issues. Originally construction started on a smaller concrete tower in the 1990s, but that project soon halted. After sitting unfinished for about 15 years, Holborn Group purchased the site from Cadillac Fairview in the early 2000s and demolished what was there before stalling out on its own plans.
But under the new development life, the old Erickson design—the last before the local architect passed away in 2009—remains, although interior layouts will drastically change from the original plans. Also known for designing the concrete mix of Simon Fraser University and the University of California’s McGaugh Hall, among many others, Erickson’s glass Vancouver tower has a twist said to mimic Santiago Calatrava’s Turning Torso in Sweden.
With an architectural twist proving prominent, it is now up to developers to see if their Trump twist can generate an equal amount of excitement.
Tim Newcomb is Engineering News-Record’s Pacific Northwest contributor. He has also written for TIME, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and more. You can follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb or visit his website here.