Club Med World was an indoor entertainment venue with a stage, restaurants and a flying trapeze school located in the centre of Montreal. It was a short lived project which opened in 2001 and closed in 2003.
Opened to great fanfare 16 months ago, Club Med World of Montreal has quietly closed its doors yesterday after having swallowed 15 to $ 17 million in an urban adventure that never lifted.
The 130 employees of Club Med World are not surprised by their dismissal. Senior management had summoned a month earlier at a meeting held yesterday afternoon in the presence of Serge Ravailhe, Executive Vice President and number two in the Club Med.
Employees were aware of the poor health of "urban entertainment center" opened October 26, 2001. The management had tried to kill the rumor and reassure staff, bulletin board display all upcoming events for the month of March as usual, "everything was planned at the last minute," recalled Veronica Carrier, an employee thanked yesterday. This was too perfect planning something fishy.
The fears have turned to certainty with the visit of Mr. Ravailhe, which justified the decision by the results "disappointing" Club Med World Montreal, a tourist complex together with a restaurant, a bar and a cabaret. The facility has posted operating losses of $ 8.4 million in 2002, but these were attributed to the launch. The year 2003 promised to be not much better with a projected deficit of at least six million.
According to Mr. Ravailhe, Club Med World of Montreal would not reach profitability until 2004 or 2005.
Club Med had tried to set up in Montreal following the example of Paris, a big mistake, now recognizes Mr. Ravailhe. "I think we overestimated the potential of Montreal. In Paris, there are ten million people. Here is three million, "he said. Despite these differences in size, the Club Med World of Montreal had the same size as that of Paris, is 5000 m2. "Even with 800 people, It had the empty air," said Nadia Tremblay, an employee layoff.
In summer, the Club Med World does put a small terrace at the disposal of its clientele, while in Montreal, a city with a cold climate, no one likes to be locked inside too short for the month of summer. And management has realized too late the importance of happy hours in culture output of the metropolis.
Result? Club Med World never took off. The resort attracted about 2,500 people from Thursday to Saturday. "The rest of the week, traffic was minimal. This is also one of the reasons for closing, "said Serge Ravailhe.
The Solidarity Fund QFL has invested $ 22.7 million in the Club Med World. Pierre Genest, CEO of the Fund, assured the shareholders that they will recover the entire investment. The Fund owns the former Loews theater, St. Catherine Street West, where the Club Med World had taken up residence. The lease will be terminated "in the best possible financial conditions" for both parties, said Mr. Genest in a statement. The building will be sold later. Its value in the property market is estimated at between eight and twelve million dollars.
The Fund also praised the professionalism of the leaders of Club Med in the management of this debacle. In this regard, employees interviewed by The Gazette have all praised the tact of their former employer. "They were really correct. They gave us more money than labor standards forced them, Tremblay said Nadia. I'll be able to spend a month without having to scrape the bottom of the barrel. "
Club Med has also offered its employees to work as a nice Montreal organizers in its various villages around the world. Those who prefer to stay in Montreal will benefit from the advice of an employment agency paid by senior management. "All our suppliers are paid, said Mr. Ravailhe. For us it is important to leave Canada head high, causing no casualties. "