Queen Victoria Hotel and Suites has been owned by the Hartnell family since 1965. It was sold to Vancouver-based Concert Properties Monday.
Photograph by: Darren Stone, timescolonist.com April 2, 2012
The Hartnell family has sold the Queen Victoria Hotel and Suites in downtown Victoria to Concert Properties.
It was not immediately known how Concert will use the 146-unit building at 655 Douglas St.
Vancouver-based Concert develops rental apartments, condominiums and retirement communities.
It also builds commercial, industrial and infrastructure properties, and manages properties.
The sale closed Monday.
However, the Hartnell family, which built the Queen Victoria, will lease back the hotel and Samuel’s Restaurant, until Sept. 30, family spokesman Tony Hartnell said Monday.
It cost the family $650,000 to build the eight storey hotel, which opened in mid-1965, said Vincent Patterson, who was a partner in developing the project with Peter Hartnell, Tony’s father.
Today the hotel and property are assessed together at $11.8 million.
Tony Hartnell, who owns the hotel with siblings Roxanna, Justin, and Cecilia, said although the hotel was not actively listed, the family had decided to sell if a certain amount was offered.
Concert Properties came forward with an offer.
The sale amount was not released.
“I thought I’d be really excited, but strangely enough, I had some mixed emotions,” Tony Hartnell said.
“Now we are looking forward to just exploring other business ventures… This is not a bad news story for our family.”
The “mid-tier” hotel has been doing well despite the challenging climate in the tourist sector, he said.
The Queen Victoria’s occupancy and rates are at or above the average in Greater Victoria, Hartnell said.
Many guests have been coming here for years.
“We have a big, loyal customer base,” Hartnell said.
At one time, it was a magnet for snowbirds, but that business has declined.
Although many hotels are “flagged” by being associated with a well-known brand, the Queen Victoria has always been independent.
Of its 146 units, all but 35 have kitchens.
The lot size is 27,720 square feet and there are 77 parking spots on site, said Amanda Crowder, who with Rick Pettinger, of DTZ Barnicke, brought Concert and the hotel’s owners together.
When the Queen Victoria originally opened it had 90 units and was called a motor inn.
In subsequent years, more rooms were added and extensive renovations carried out.
Peter Hartnell got into the hotel business, by building the Thunderbird Hotel, originally as a rental property and then converting it into a hotel, Tony Hartnell said.
Peter used to walk by a couple of old houses on a triangle shaped chunk of land by Saint Ann’s Academy and Thunderbird Park.
One day he stopped to ask the owner of both houses if she would sell.
She was agreeable and a few years later, the hotel was built, his son said.
Peter Hartnell, who died more than a decade ago, also the Victoria Princess hotel, which was later sold.
He was a well-known businessman in Victoria, wrangling with city hall more than once over zoning and building issues.
He was also known for right-wing views.
The Queen Victoria has been maintained with major investments annually, Tony Hartnell said.
But an original mosaic still borders the pool.
About 60 staff work at the hotel.
They are being offered a bonus to stay until it closes, Hartnell said.
Tourism consultant Frank Bouree, a partner with Chemistry Consulting, said the Queen Victoria has been a mainstay of the Greater Victoria hotel industry for decades.
“It was one of the very rare suite hotels,” he said.
Greater Victoria has about 7,500 hotel rooms.
The industry has run at an average occupancy rate of 63 per cent for the last several years.
It is unlikely more hotels will be built until that rate moves up to at least 70 per cent, Bourree said.
LA ROSA reprint:
Queen Victoria hotel sold to Vancouver developer
Their plans for downtown Victoria property not known yet
Victoria Times Colonist
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
BUSINESS SECTION: PAGE B1
Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/Queen+Victoria+hotel+sold+Vancouver+developer/6402239/story.html#ixzz1r5cnIYzu