Trump Vancouver 1133 W. Geogia – Residences get flight hours on LAS’s Bombardier Lear Jet 75

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Have condo, will travel: Trump Vancouver partners with London Air Services, Rolls-Royce

Martha Perkins

Magnum Projects’ George Wong, Trump Towers’ Jim Petrus, Holborn Group’s Joo Kim Tiah, London Air’s Wynne Powell and Rolls-Royce’s Steven Wu.

Joo Kim Tiah is relaxing in the plush leather seat of a private jet. He declines the flight attendant’s offer of a glass of Veuve-Clicquot because he hasn’t had any breakfast yet and, although this will be a relaxing 35-minute trip to Tofino and back, it’s not wise to toast his newest business partnership on empty stomach.

The 12-seat Challenger is owned by London Air Services. People who buy one of the 218 residences at the Tiah family’s newest hotel, the under-construction Trump International Hotel and Tower in Coal Harbour, will receive a number of flight hours on LAS’s Bombardier Lear Jet 75. They’ll also share access to a chauffeur driven Rolls-Royce Ghost should they need a drive to LAS’s terminal.

As a taste of a luxurious way of life, it’s pretty sweet. But for the young man who’s pulling it all together, a lot a stress and worry has gone into creating this carefree moment.

“This project has the potential to be the local champion; people will talk about this place as an icon of Vancouver,” says the 33-year-old Tiah who, along with Jim Petrus, COO of the Trump Hotel Collection, is hosting a group of journalists on the plane.

This is not only a reputation-making hotel for Vancouver. There’s a lot at stake for the Malaysian-born hotel scion as well.

Tiah’s family is rich. Very rich. Rich enough to own most of a block of downtown Vancouver -bordered by West Georgia, Seymour, Dunsmuir and Richards – plus numerous holdings throughout the world. He’s become the public face of the 63-storey tower, involved in all of the decisions, including this summer’s announcement that Donald Trump would lend his brand to the project.

“When you do business with someone, it’s like a marriage,” says Tiah. “You want to know who will be with you to the end.”

He’d researched and sought out many other hotel management companies and didn’t like feeling that the CEO you deal with today might be with another company tomorrow. He clicked with Donald Trump Jr. in both a personal and professional way.

“I understand what it’s like to live up to the family’s expectations,” says Tiah, who unwinds after work by playing death metal on his drum kit at the office.

In an August interview with Business in Vancouver, Tiah talked about why he feels at ease with Don Jr.  “We both have strong, dominant fathers who are very successful. How Don treats Don Jr. is very much how my dad treats me. It’s firm. He’s very tough on his kid. I can associate.”

Tiah was unwilling to say how much the residences will cost. It’s not quite an “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” answer; instead, Tiah says it’s important to first know exactly what amenities will be included. A pool bar nightclub, champagne lounge, destination restaurant and one Ivanka Trump’s boutique spas, Mar-a-Lago, are also part of the plan.

“We have to get everything just perfect,” he said, the mantra sounding as if it was on a constant loop in his brain.

George Wong of Magnum Projects said that it’s hoped sales will begin in mid-October. “Vancouverites will have the first opportunity to purchase a suite,” he told WE Vancouver. Offices throughout Asia will soon be making sales, too.

As the plane finished its crossing of the Georgia Straight, perhaps it wasn’t only the journalists who were regretting the end of this little escape from deadlines and responsibility. Tiah has set a lofty goal to create a building that will help define Vancouver.

“It’s not about being the tallest building or the prettiest,” he said, almost wistfully. “It’s having all those other things that make you the local champion.”

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