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The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto is seen on May 11 , 2017. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto is seen on May 11 , 2017. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Toronto's Trump Hotel to drop President's name as property is rebranded Add to ...

The Trump International Hotel and Tower in downtown Toronto will soon lose the President’s name, as the luxury property is rebranded only five years after opening its doors.

The owner of the Trump Hotel, JCF Capital ULC, announced a deal on Tuesday to buy out the Trump Organization’s management contracts for an undisclosed amount.

The deal closes a chapter in the troubled story of Toronto’s Trump Hotel. The 65-storey hotel and condo in the heart of Canada’s financial district has been plagued with problems, starting with slow construction, a delayed opening, financial woes, investor lawsuits and bad press.

Read more: The Trump effect: Canadian, Mexican confidence in U.S. leadership plummets

RoB Magazine: Donald Trump has a situation on Bay Street

And that was before Donald Trump became U.S. President and anti-Trump protesters started demonstrating outside some of his hotel sites.

Conceived when Toronto had only a few luxury hotels, the Trump-branded hotel was supposed to be a sure thing. But by the time it opened in 2012, it would face increased competition from other high-end hotels, such as Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La and Four Seasons.

Mr. Trump never owned the hotel, but he licensed his name and managed the property through his family’s company Trump Hotels, which is now being run by his two eldest sons.

The original owner of Toronto’s Trump Hotel was billionaire Alex Shnaider and his real estate company Talon International Development Inc.

As Mr. Shnaider was developing the property, he tried to sell hotel rooms and condos to investors. But he ran into trouble when he was unable to sell all his inventory. Some investors sued Talon for misrepresenting the investments.

Then in 2015, Talon defaulted on a construction loan and was eventually forced to relinquish the property. In March of this year, JCF bought the hotel through a court-approved process.

JCF, a joint venture between two private real estate investment firms, would not comment on when Mr. Trump’s name would be removed.

In the meantime, Marriott International Inc.’s St. Regis hotel chain is expected to take over the property’s brand and management, according to Thomson Reuters.

“I don’t want to disparage the Trump name, but it certainly doesn’t have the kind of international brand exposure and number of hotels as do some other places,” said Curtis Gallagher, vice-president of hotel investments at commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield.

“Despite all the noise around that hotel, not to mention the fact that will people stay at the Trump hotel with the President’s name tied to it, it is still performing well and I think it can perform better,” he said.

Marriott International Inc. is the largest hotel company in the world. It owns more than a dozen chains, including its namesake and other well-known brands, such as Westin, W hotels and Delta.

Marriott did not respond to a request for comment.

When Toronto’s Trump Hotel is renamed, the President’s company will be left with one hotel in Canada – its recently opened Vancouver location. The chain also manages eight hotels in the United States, as well as properties in Scotland and Panama.

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