Court orders sale of former Traveller's Inn properties in Victoria

Three Victoria properties once part of the now-defunct Traveller’s Inn chain are back on the market under court-ordered sales after a lender foreclosed on current owner Robin Kimpton.

NAI Commercial (Victoria) Inc. is offering the properties as one package for $5.99 million, or will sell them individually.

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Kimpton bought the two buildings and a parking lot in 2010 after 20-plus companies in the former Traveller’s Inn chain went bankrupt. The rest of the group was broken up and sold to various investors.

Offers on the Kimpton sites must be approved by the B.C. Supreme Court, which on April 30 granted lender Cooper Pacific II Mortgage Investment Corporation authority to sell the lands. Documents state the total owed to Cooper Pacific is $5.39 million.

Businessman Kimpton and companies he owns are listed in court records as defendants.

The asking price is below the total assessed value of about $7 million, said Tim Taylor, an agent for NAI Commercial. The three properties could provide immediate income and also have future development possibilities, NAI promotional materials say.

The largest property is 760 Queens Ave., a 23,000 square foot, three-storey apartment-motel, with an assessed value of $4.5 million. Kimpton bought it for $4.2 million. He could not be reached for comment Thursday. The hotel-apartment building continues to operate. The building has 85 units and 3,000 square feet of commercial space.

Kimpton said in early March that exterior improvements, including power washing and new siding, would take place and that his goal was to rent to seniors. Some work has been completed.

But on Thursday, sheets of plastic covered part of the building, where it borders on Blanshard Street, and its white paint has worn off from large portions of the exterior.

The other former Traveller’s Inn building is Boutique Suites at 723 Field St., which Kimpton bought for $2.75 million. Located south of the Bay Street Armoury, it is assessed at $1.9 million. It has 28 suites, Taylor said.

The building has an eye-catching facade, featuring an arch over its entrance door and a round window. Kimpton had been upgrading suites in the building, saying earlier that each of the 12 units completed cost between $5,000 and $10,000 to fix up. Repairs were done after residents moved out.

Next door, at 715 Field St., is a 7,700-square-foot parking lot, also part of the package, assessed at $508,000.

The parking lot is zoned for multiple-dwelling use, NAI said.

Taylor said he has been fielding “lots of interest” from the private sector and showing the properties to local and out-of-town potential buyers. He said there is deferred maintenance on the properties.

Kimpton and the City of Victoria have butted heads in past years after the municipality ordered some of his properties boarded up. Kimpton ran unsuccessfully for a seat on city council in 2011.

A May affidavit filed in court by Kimpton states he and his companies own 11 properties in Victoria and Vancouver, with a total value of $22 million. They have charges of $12 million against them, leaving a net worth of $10 million.

Other Kimpton properties in Victoria include:

• 1176 Yates St. and 2321 Cook St., both vacant rooming houses.

• 1349 Grant St., a building with nine bachelor units.

• 1423 Fernwood Rd., a seven-bedroom building.

• 780 Blanshard St., an office building.

• 1111 Empress Ave., a fourplex.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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