Empty five-acre land parcel available on Vancouver's prestigious Belmont Avenue
Three-lot parcel for sale at $81 million, with yearly property taxes of $280,000, but cannot be stratified
An extraordinary opportunity exists for a developer willing to spend $81 million buying up Vancouver’s most valuable parcel of vacant detached home lots, says local historian John Atkin.
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Atkin said the three side-by-side lots on Belmont Avenue in West Point Grey comprise a total of five acres. One has never been developed, while two homes that sat on the other lots are long demolished. The three have been sold as a parcel since at least the 1970s and are recorded as lots one, two and three in 1909 subdivision records.
“It’s extraordinary that you would find such an amazing piece of property that’s not developed in that location, given some of the extraordinary houses and architecture that you find out there, both the older stuff that’s been kept and well loved and some of the new houses. Those three lots are just sitting there,” said Atkin, adding that one of the demolished homes was occupied by former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner as a teenager after his widowed mom married Lieut. Governor Frank Mackenzie Ross, who owned the house.
The prestigious Belmont heights neighbourhood north of 4th Avenue is bounded by Blanca Street, the Spanish Banks Creek ravine and NW Marine Drive.
Atkin said the area was subdivided around the same time as Shaughnessy with similar-sized lots (some 200-feet wide and 400-feet deep). However, the Shaughnessy lots needed at least $5,000 to be spent on the new home and had to be developed as soon as possible and so attracted a different buyer than the Belmont heights neighbourhood, that was then considered remote.
There are still homes in the neighbourhood that were built in the early 1910s — the Vancouver real-estate market collapsed in 1913 — including one on West 2nd Avenue that was built for mattress manufacturer Robert Hunter and is now occupied by former politician, physician and Olympic basketball player Pat McGeer.
Atkin said there was another surge in development in the neighbourhood in the 1920s and 1930s, as people moved from the West End to get away from pollution due to sawmills in False Creek and the Burrard Inlet.
The three side-by-side lots (4883/4889/4899 Belmont) have been on the market since June 21, 2021 and are priced at $38.9 million, $29.9 million and $11.9 million for a total of $80.7 million.
They are being marketed by Sutton Group Realtor Danny Deng.
Deng’s listing states that if the three lots are purchased together as a 5.06-acre parcel, the buyer will have the potential to “apply for redevelopment”.
According to a City of Vancouver spokesperson, the lots are zoned RS-1, which permits one and two-family dwellings through a development permit process.
“There are no policies that would allow a strata-titled condo/townhome project, or a market rental development,” the spokesperson said.
“If however, the purchaser wanted to develop social housing, the West Point Grey Community Vision supports rezoning for social housing developments owned and operated by non-profits.”
Deng did not respond to a request for interview. A photo illustration that showed 27 residences on the combined parcel was removed from the listing on Monday.
The three lots were bought in 2015 for $26.5 million by three numbered companies — all with directors Luijan Shao and Edison Washington. The following year they were listed for $68.5 million combined but never sold.
According to land title records, they were purchased as a parcel in 1978 for $980,000.
A 2016 article by former The Province reporter Sam Cooper reported that Edison Washington is also known as Qiang Wang and that with his wife had purchased $152 million worth of Vancouver property since 2011 — including the Belmont Ave properties and parcels on Cambie Street that have since been redeveloped.
The property listing showed the owner of the undeveloped lots would have to pay around $280,000 a year in property tax.
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