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Sale ordered for Richmond luxury hotel in $80M debt

The 100-room Versante Hotel is being listed for $98 million in a court-ordered sale.
Versante Hotel has been put up for a court-ordered sale for $98 million.

A luxury boutique hotel in the Bridgeport neighbourhood has been put up for a court-ordered sale after its owners defaulted on an $80-million loan.

The mortgagees for Versante Hotel's location, Fox Island Development Ltd. and Advanced Venture Holding Co. Ltd, filed a court petition on Jan. 24, 2024, claiming they were owed just under $80 million following a default on a loan.

Owned by real estate developer Mo Yeung Ching, also known as Michael Ching, Versante Hotel opened in Richmond back in 2021. Since its opening, the 100-room hotel has been a finalist in several hotel and tourism awards including the 2022 Canada's Best Restroom Contest.

Last week, one of the hotel's restaurants, Acre Through the Seasons, announced its closure just one year after opening.

In a statement to the Richmond News, Samantha Greer, media spokesperson for Versante, said the hotel remains "fully operational" and "steadfast in delivering exceptional service.

"Given the recent developments concerning Versante Hotel, it is crucial to acknowledge that there is an ongoing shareholder dispute. We want to reassure our esteemed guests and clients that these occurrences do not affect or interrupt the hotel’s very successful operations," she said.

"Our unwavering dedication to providing outstanding hospitality to both our hotel and restaurant patrons remains our foremost focus."

Kensington Union Bay Properties Nominee Ltd. and International Trade Center Properties Ltd. are among the mortgagors named in the petition, while Ching, the hotel operator Hotel Versante Ltd., Sunwins Enterprise Ltd. and Mo Yeung Properties Ltd. are named as the guarantors.

According to the petition, Fox Island and Advanced Venture lent around $36 million to the borrowers in 2021.

Some loan repayments were made throughout 2023 and the parties entered into a forbearance agreement in 2023 following a default on the loan, but the debtors ultimately defaulted on the loan again after two extensions.

As of Dec. 31, 2023, reads the petition, the total amount due and owing was $78,867,149.52 plus interest.

The petition sought for the hotel to be put up for private sale, among other orders.

In an order issued on Feb. 29, 2024, a B.C. Supreme Court associate judge found the debtors were in default of the loan and ordered Versante Hotel and the debtors' personal property to be put up for private sale.

Fox Island and Advanced Venture have exclusive conduct of the sale and any sale is subject to approval by the court.

According to the listing on Avison Young, the hotel is priced at $98 million; it includes 100 rooms, nearly 8,000 square feet of event space and the 4,566-square foot Bruno restaurant.

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