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Feds sell historic Sinclair Centre

<p>Vancouver’s historic Sinclair Centre has been sold to a West Vancouver family, the federal government announced yesterday.</p>




Jeff hodson/Metro Vancouver


Janet Sinclair is shown outside the Sinclair Centre yesterday. The building is named after her father, former Liberal cabinet minister James Sinclair.





Vancouver’s historic Sinclair Centre has been sold to a West Vancouver family, the federal government announced yesterday.





But critics of the sale said it is nothing more than a short-term cash grab to buy votes in an upcoming election.





The building, which dates back to about 1910, was one of nine federally owned office buildings sold for $1.644 billion to the Lalji family of West Vancouver through their company, Larco Investments Ltd.





Under the conditions of the sale, the buildings will be leased back to the feds for the next 25 years.





“Why are we selling it?” asked Janet Sinclair, daughter of former federal Liberal cabinet minister James Sinclair, for whom the building is named. “It’s our heritage and we seem to be giving it away to whoever has the most money.”





However, in a release yesterday morning, federal Public Works Minister Michael Fortier said the deal is fair for Canadians and transfers ownership risk for major building capital costs to the private sector.





“Office space is a commodity,” Fortier said. “We do not need to own it to use it. Most Canadians don’t own their office.”















New owners of nine federal buildings



  • In the 1970s, the Lalji family was driven from Uganda by dictator Idi Amin.



  • In 2006, the Lalji family was listed as the 50th wealthiest in Canada with an estimated worth of $928 million.



  • In Metro Vancouver, the Laljis own Park Royal Shopping Centre in North Vancouver and Burnaby’s Bridge Studios.



 
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