Who is Alice Wu, one of the former owners of the vast Northvolt land?

Little known businesswoman Alice Minying Wu made headlines when we learned, at the beginning of the month, that she was co-owner of the vast land sold to Northvolt for the record sum of $240 million. But this was not her first outburst.

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In March 2022, the company she founded in 2006, Groupe Boda (formerly Broad), sold 355,000 square feet of land, located in Brossard, for almost $55 million. Boda had paid less than $3.7 million for him nine years earlier. Annualized return, excluding fees: 35%.

“Groupe Boda worked for eight years on the pre-development of this land and succeeded in obtaining a zoning modification in order to be able to carry out a high-density project there. The REM [train léger] was also built nearby, which made this land extremely attractive,” explains Marie Sara Hamel, vice-president at Boda.

Boda Group LinkedIn page

Teacher by training

Nothing predestined Mme Wu, now 55 years old, to become one of the most powerful women in the real estate sector on the South Shore of Montreal.

“I came to Quebec for love and in return, all Quebecers gave me a lot of love and support. I became one of them,” she says in a telephone interview with The newspaper during which she alternated between French and English.

Born in China, Alice Wu immigrated to Montreal in 1991 to join her future husband, Danny Huang, who had lived here since 1986 and was studying at Concordia University.

Mme Wu earned a master’s degree in educational management from McGill University. While in school, she gave birth to her first son while working part-time at a convenience store with her husband.

She then worked as a secretary in an immigration law firm, before launching her consulting firm in the field.

It was her husband, then a real estate broker, who led her to become interested in the field, then to found Groupe Boda.

Friend of Guy St-Jacques

Guy St-Jacques, former Canadian ambassador to China, knew Danny Huang in Beijing and became friends with the couple upon his return to Quebec.

Mr. St-Jacques notes that Mr. Huang is president of the Jiu Ding foundation, which provides scholarships to Canadian students of Chinese origin.

The organization’s vice president is Yuhong (Henry) Liu, who has been vice president at Power Corporation since 2011.

Alice Minying Wu receiving the 2022 Outstanding Chinese Entrepreneur Award from the Canadian Council of Chinese Entrepreneurs.

Alice Wu with her husband, Danny Huang, and their son, Frank.

Photo taken from Frank Huang’s LinkedIn page

Sino-Quebec investors

For most of its projects, Boda can count on the support of investors of Chinese origin.

“I have Chinese partners, but they are Quebecers, they live in the Montreal region,” explains Alice Wu.

Over the years, Boda acquired several million square feet of land. The group has completed the construction of five residential projects, sold three and is in the process of developing six more.

Boda also owns five commercial buildings, an equestrian estate in Carignan, a golf course in Lachute and another in Candiac which she wishes to convert into a residential project.

Faced with the desire of the Metropolitan Community of Montreal to make this last property a park, Boda filed a lawsuit for more than $69 million against the City of Candiac, revealed The Press in May.

Anyway, Mr.me Wu says she is delighted that the vast land she and her partners sold to Northvolt is preparing to host the flagship project of the Quebec battery industry.

“We are so proud to be able to play a role in the economic development of Quebec,” she says. We will see that this will bring many great things to this region. We are very happy and we can’t wait to see it all.”

The land sold to Northvolt

  • Sales price (2023): $240 million ($13 per square foot)
  • Purchase price (2015): $20 million
  • Area: 18.5 million square feet
  • Sellers: a group composed of Luc Poirier, Serge Gariépy, Alice Wu and other investors

–With Philippe Langlois, QMI Agency

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