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Caisse sells Empress Hotel in Victoria; purchase price not disclosed

VICTORIA, Minn. - Ivanhoe Cambridge, the real estate arm of Quebec pension fund manager the Caisse de depot, has sold The Empress Hotel in Victoria to real estate developer Nat Bosa and his wife Flora.

Cushman & Wakefield, which acted on behalf of Ivanhoe Cambridge, did not disclose the sale price in making the announcement Thursday.

"The Empress is one of the great hotels — truly a national treasure," said Curtis Gallagher, vice president of hotel investments for Cushman & Wakefield. "It is beyond being just an asset — it is a landmark and we're pleased that we've found buyers who appreciate the hotel for what it is."

The Empress, which opened in 1908 as a railway hotel servicing the Canadian Pacific's steamship line, has 477 rooms, four restaurants and a conference facility, which was added in 1989.

The deal is the latest to be announced by the Caisse, which said back in May that it was getting out of the hotel business except for three luxury locations in its home province.

Among the hotels already sold was Ottawa's Chateau Laurier.

Besides the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, those being put up for sale include the landmark Fairmont hotels Royal York in Toronto and Hotel Vancouver, and hotels in Barbados, Seattle and Washington, D.C., along with the Hilton Downtown Atlanta.

That will leave it with only Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel, which will be renovated, the refurbished Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City and the W Montreal adjacent to its headquarters.

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