Great Gulf Group Expands into Resorts and Leisure, Appoints Jay Wong as President

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Great Gulf Group, a prominent player in the real estate sector, is intensifying its focus on the resorts and leisure division, marking a significant strategic shift. The Toronto-headquartered company recently appointed Jay Wong as the president of this division, a move that underscores the group’s ambition to expand its footprint in the luxury travel and hospitality industry.

Jay Wong, a San Francisco native with an impressive track record in the hospitality sector, joins Great Gulf Group from Exclusive Resorts, a luxury travel club, where he served as the executive vice president of operations and member experience. Wong’s experience extends to prominent roles in the Americas portfolio management team at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and in various leadership capacities at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which was acquired by Marriott International in 2015. His expertise in hospitality operations and development, including his involvement with Four Seasons in aligning stakeholders in the company’s development pipeline, makes him a fitting leader for Great Gulf’s new ventures.

Wong’s appointment is a strategic move for Great Gulf Group, which has been known for its innovation and forward-thinking approach in the real estate sector. In a conversation with RENX, Wong expressed his enthusiasm for this new role, seeing resorts and leisure as the “next frontier” for the Great Gulf Group. He believes his background in traditional hospitality operations and real estate development is a perfect match for the company’s evolving focus.

Great Gulf Group and its affiliates have a diverse range of projects across Canada and the United States. The group’s foray into the resort sector includes ownership of Taboo Muskoka on Lake Muskoka near Gravenhurst, Ontario, and plans for new developments near Collingwood, Ontario, and Killington, Vermont. Wong revealed that the group has a pipeline of 5,000 to 6,000 units squarely in the resort residential space, highlighting the scale of their ambitions in this sector.

A significant project under Wong’s leadership is the development of a 1,095-acre ski village and luxury resort community in Killington, Vermont. Acquired for $43 million from SP Land Co., the development aims to offer ski-in/ski-out residences and a range of amenities, including a new ski lodge, an amphitheatre, and a skating pond. The project, supported by the Town of Killington with infrastructure development, is expected to kick off its first phase of sales in Q4 2024, with construction beginning in early 2025.

Further expansion plans include potential additions to the Killington development, with more than 2,100 residential units and 169,000 square feet of retail and commercial space in the long-term vision. Wong believes that the northeastern U.S. population is seeking domestic destinations that offer both skiing and elegant experiences, a demand that Great Gulf aims to meet with its Killington project.

Back in Canada, Great Gulf Group is also exploring the evolution of Taboo Muskoka, which it acquired in 1984. The resort, known for its golf course, restaurants, and adventure center, is surrounded by approximately 1,200 acres of land owned by the group, with master planning underway. Additionally, the group owns about 1,000 acres near Collingwood, where early-stage master planning for resort developments is in progress.

Great Gulf Group’s venture into resorts and leisure, led by Jay Wong, represents a significant chapter in the company’s story. With a combination of innovative design, strategic planning, and Wong’s seasoned leadership, the group is poised to make a lasting impact on the luxury travel and resort industry.

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