Sale of La Presse building to foreign buyers

A leading global shipping company just bought the La Presse building for $40.5 million in Montreal from a company run by the Desmarais brothers, among others.

Square Victoria Real Estate, whose directors include Andre and Paul Desmaris Jr., has sold the building at 750 Saint-Laurent Boulevard to the International Conglomerate Maritime Company.

The building was first built to house the offices of the daily La Presse in the late 1950s.

Subsequently, it was completely renovated from eight floors in 2018 and now hosts several tenants.

With this $40.5 million deal, the buyer will continue to lease offices to La Presse, Forbius, La Presse Canadienne and Gesca.

The new owner of the approximately 120,000 square foot building is a company with shareholders primarily located in Luxembourg.

Not Canadian

“It is non-Canadian within the meaning of the Canadian Investment Act,” said the deed of sale dated June 16.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Maritime Conglomerate is Sokat Sheikh. Within this group, Mr. Sheikh is also the President of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), a leading global container shipping company.

Interestingly, in December 2020 MSC had already purchased the former offices of La Presse located at 7 rue Saint-Jacques in Old Montreal. Note that today’s old and new offices are located opposite each other.

The magazine contacted Sokkat Sheikh, but our interview requests went unanswered Wednesday afternoon.

Héritage Montréal, for its part, notes that the building sold is located on a heritage site in the Old Port.

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heritage site

We’re starting to ask ourselves questions about the media heritage here. Many of the buildings of these institutions are changing. It will increase with more modern supplements. We don’t yet have an appreciation for this modern heritage, it’s time to question ourselves about it,” explains Taïka Baillargeon, of Héritage Montréal.

Ms. Bailargon cites Radio Canada as an example, where she recently gave up her grand tower to move into her new home in the Vale Marie area.

But are you concerned that foreign shareholders are getting their hands on the building that houses La Presse’s offices?

“A priori, we are not worried. It remains to be seen if the owner’s values ​​change much from the old ones,” emphasizes Ms. Bailargon.

With Philippe Langlois

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