Bil­lion­aire’s Row feel­ing the pinch

Van­cou­ver’s 10 prici­est homes lost a com­bined $66M in value in a year

StarMetro Vancouver - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID P. BALL

And why you don’t need to feel bad thes­tar.com/van­cou­ver

Just 10 houses, all clus­tered on Van­cou­ver’s west side near the ocean, were worth $433 mil­lion at the turn of the New Year, when B.C. Assess­ment re­leased its an­nual fig­ures.

Their own­ers, a mix of fa­mous bil­lion­aires such as Lu­l­ule­mon’s founder and anony­mous hold­ing firms, are prob­a­bly none-too-happy the homes ac­tu­ally plum­meted a col­lec­tive $66 mil­lion in value in just a year.

Com­pared to five years ago, how­ever, each of them sky­rock­eted by an av­er­age of $13 mil­lion. It’s been nick­named “Bil­lion­aire’s Row” for a rea­son.

Their houses fea­ture ev­ery­thing from in-ground labyrinths to mul­ti­ple swim­ming pools, sea­side ten­nis courts, se­cluded path­ways through large ur­ban for­est acreages, ocean views, and ex­treme pri­vacy mea­sures to keep out pry­ing eyes.

The only strata con­do­minium to eke its way near the top among a long litany of sin­gle-fam­ily homes and acreages came in at No. 11, the $32-mil­lion 31st-floor unit of 277 Thur­low St. in down­town Van­cou­ver’s Har­bour neigh­bour­hood.

Here is the in­de­pen­dent agency’s list of the top five:

1. 3085 POINT GREY RD. ($73.1 MIL­LION)

For­mer yoga-wear mogul Chip Wil­son, founder of Lu­l­ule­mon, holds onto his years-long ti­tle as the owner of the en­tire prov­ince’s most ex­pen­sive prop­erty, which fea­tures a sea­side ten­nis court, pool and pri­vate look­out.

Al­though some of Wil­son’s top-10 ri­vals have prop­er­ties mas­sively more valu­able than the ac­tual build­ings on them, that’s not the case for his sprawl­ing man­sion.

De­signed by legendary ar­chi­tect Russell Hollingsworth — who boasts a few ti­tles on the top-10 list — the seven-bed­room, nine-bath­room house it­self is val­ued at $26 mil­lion.

2. 4707 BEL­MONT AVE. ($65.5 MIL­LION)

The man­sion at 4707 Bel­mont Ave. is shrouded in mys­tery be­cause, un­like the out­spo­ken Lu­l­ule­mon mag­nate, the own­ers re­main pub­licly un­known — hid­den be­hind a Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands hold­ing com­pany, Pisonii (PTC) Ltd., ac­cord­ing to B.C. gov­ern­ment records.

It has no web­site. And its home coun­try won’t re­veal who owns or di­rects its com­pa­nies reg­is­tered there. Only re­cently did the Bri­tish Columbia gov­ern­ment de­mand that such com­pa­nies turn over who is be­hind them.

What is known is that Hollingsworth de­signed the anony­mous Bel­mont Av­enue owner a sprawl­ing, 29,000-square-foot palace with 17 bath­rooms to go with its 10 bed­rooms.

3. 4719 BEL­MONT AVE. ($41.2 MIL­LION)

This house fea­tures what ap­pears from satel­lite im­ages to be a seven-me­tre sky­light at the heart of the square 18,000square-foot manor.

Its own­ers — Nezhat Khos­row­shahi, ac­cord­ing to re­cent doc­u­ments, whose spouse Has­san founded Fu­ture Shop and Per­sis Hold­ings Ltd., and whose nephew is CEO of Uber — have their own full-size ten­nis court less than 100 steps away from their mys­te­ri­ous neigh­bours’ own pri­vate court.

4. 2815 POINT GREY RD. ($40.0 MIL­LION)

This Kit­si­lano prop­erty is owned by Jac­qui Co­hen, the grand­daugh­ter of the Army and Navy re­tail em­pire founder.

Her prop­erty fell $5.9 mil­lion in value in this year’s assess­ment.

5. 4743 BEL­MONT AVE ($37.7 MIL­LION)

Con­tin­u­ing west down Bil­lion­aire’s Row from Khos­row­shahi, this green-roofed man­sion has a large tract of dense for­est that takes up much of its 1.3-acre lot.

Its own­ers are Ros­alie and Joe Se­gal — founder of the Fields de­part­ment store chain, whose firm Kingswood Cap­i­tal took over Zellers.

And they’ve cre­ated a Ver­sailles-in­spired clas­si­cal gar­den to match the el­e­gant style in­te­ri­ors that were re­vealed when the 90-some­thing cou­ple placed the house on the mar­ket two years ago; they took it off the mar­ket in the end, but the pho­tos of­fered a glimpse in­side a sel­dom-seen cor­ner of Van­cou­ver. Get the full list at thes­tar.com/van­cou­ver

GOOGLE EARTH

In this Google Earth screen­shot, the north side of the 4000-block of Bel­mont Av­enue, in Van­cou­ver's wealthy west side, hosts four of Bri­tish Columbia's most ex­pen­sive houses.

The Se­gal fam­ily’s man­sion on so-called Bil­lion­aire’s Row on Bel­mont Ave. fea­tures a Ver­sailles-in­spired gar­den and ex­ten­sive for­est cover.

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