Sometimes I am lucky enough to catch up with Thad Alston, the executive director of Larco, a private family company who are the second largest owners of mini-warehouses in the U.K., own 15 hotels in London and in 2007 the purchased the Canadian government's portfolio of office buildings then valued at $1.6+ billion.
He is pictured here with his extremely capable wife who was Managing Partner of Preston, Gates & Ellis - Bill Gates' Dad's law firm. Both are Harvard Law Magna Cum Laude graduates, as are their daughters... >> MORE
I met him when I sold the group 271 unit apartment complex and when they purchased the former Vancouver Stock Exchange building through me. The group also has a significant portfolio of hotels and multi-family investments in the U.S. It is a honour for me to be in the company of such high-level minds and deal makers.
At the recent celebrations of the Shangri-La Vancouver's 5 diamond award, the 'King' of Canadian Institutional Real Estate Avtar Bains was photographed by yours truly with Larco executive assistant/'gatekeeper to the bosses' Heather McCutcheon and public relations maven Jill Killeen who is married to CTV anchor Mike Killeen.
Avtar's imprint on nearly every single institutional real estate transaction in Canada for the last 2 decades is the result of hard work and dedicated effort. We started real estate together at the same time and while he focussed on Canadian real estate, I established similar reputation for dealing with the largest tycoons of Asia when no investment banker had any time for helping them invest into the west. As a result, I got to act and travel with the owner of Omni Hotels, Laura Ashley and others. How times change!! Now the GS ib's [investment bankers] are paid huge as partners to know the same people who have become my personal friends.
Avtar and I travelled together with our respective parents to Asia in the 80's and remain best friends to this day, professionally and personally. Lucky us!
The late Canadian philanthropist Milton Wong left another legacy before he departed, his niece and my good friend Beijing -based Joanna Wong. She's the Asia Pacific Foundations' Media Fellow ... >> MORE
I had the privilege to join Andrew Bibby, the chief executive of Grosvenor Americas over soup and sandwich as he explained first hand their deal flow and rationale. He is on the plane a lot to cover Edmonton, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Vancouver B.C., for the private holdings of the Duke of Westminster, the largest private land owner in London UK.
A Rhode Scholar (Oxford), St. George's Head Boy (1975) who trained as Tenant Liason person-on-the-ground under now deceased, but famous, Rod Schroder, the team at Daon with Bill Levine, Don Milliken, Mac Campbell...during those glory days. Good foundations. A decent fellow with a clearly thought out strategy. Lucky Duke! >>
Recently I also dined with the Director for Hong Kong Trade and Economic Office, a very capable Miss Gloria Lo who heads a 15 person strong representation in Canada. Ms. Catherine Yuen is their representative in Vancouver and has an office Downtown at Park Place. >> HKETO website