The largest log cabin in the world, the Château Montebello, is once again being put up for sale.
Chinese property developer Evergrande is the latest owner of the iconic hotel. The company was ordered to liquidate its $245 billion in worldwide assets in January – the Montebello being the group’s first foray into Canadian real estate.
The resort was built in 1930 and grew to be a popular tourist destination in the Outaouais region of Quebec. It has also hosted various world leaders, such as the 1981 G7 Summit with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
For the town of Montebello down the road, the hotel has played a key role in its economic development.
“The Château is the main employer of the whole area, not just Montebello,” said Mayor Nicole Laflamme.”It employs over 300 people – it’s our economic motor.”
Many small businesses that rely on the resort now wait with bated breath for tells of new ownership.
“I would say pretty much 75 to 80 per cent of [customers] are coming from the Château,” said Le Bistro Montebello Floor Manager Thanya Marin. “It’s going to be a big decision for the village.”
Many businesses, like Le Bistro Montebello, rely on the Château Montebello for the bulk of its visitors. Feb. 8, 2024 (Sam Houpt/CTV News Ottawa)
It will not be the first time the hotel has passed ownership. It was once run by Canadian Pacific Railway and was purchased by Evergrande Group in 2014.
Some Montebello residents are optimistic for the change in leadership.
“When there’s uncertainty, there’s always a little amount of stress, but I’m sure that they will find somebody somewhere who wants to be the new owner of that wonderful hotel,” said Emily Laverdiere.
Others hope new owners will pay more attention to the property. John St Germain points to rotting logs at the Montebello, and worries the sale will further delay some much-needed renovations.
“If the building is not restored in some way and kept up every year, then we don’t know where we’re going,” he said.
Town officials remain confident a sale will not affect the town’s tourism income, as well as the jobs of the hundreds who work at the Château.
“[A sale] would not have any impact on the management and the existence of Château Montebello,” said Laflamme. “I’m convinced of that.”
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