La Presse building sold to foreign buyers

La Presse building sold to foreign buyers


A world leader in shipping has just bought the La Presse building for $40.5 million , in Montreal, from the hands of a company administered among others by the Desmarais brothers.

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

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

Subsequently, it was completely refurbished with eight floors in 2018 and now hosts many tenants. 

With this $40.5 million transaction, the buyer will continue to rent offices to companies La Presse, Forbius, The Canadian Press and Gesca.  

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

Not Canadian

“He is a non-Canadian within the meaning of the Investment Canada Act”, can we also read in the deed of sale dated June 16. 

The president of International Conglomerate Maritime Company is Sokat Shaikh. Within this conglomerate, Mr. Shaikh is also at the head of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), a world leader in container shipping.  

La Presse building sold to foreign buyers

Photo courtesy Taïka Baillargeon, Héritage Montréal

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

The Journal contacted Sokat Shaikh, but our requests for interview went unanswered on Wednesday afternoon. 

For its part, the Héritage Montréal organization reminds us that the building sold is located on a heritage site in the Old Port. 

A heritage site 

“We are starting to ask ourselves questions about the media heritage here. Several buildings of these institutions are changing. They will increase with more modern annexes. We don't yet have an appreciation of this modern heritage, it's time to ask questions about it,” explains Taïka Baillargeon, of Héritage Montréal. 

Ms. Baillargeon cites as an example Radio-Canada, which recently abandoned its tall tower to move into its new home in the Ville-Marie borough.

But is it worried that foreign shareholders will get their hands on the building that houses the offices of La Presse

“A priori, we are not worried. It remains to be seen if the owner's values ​​change a lot from the old one,” assures Ms. Baillargeon. 

– With Philippe Langlois 

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