Vancouver mansion with haunted reputation to be converted into West End rental homes

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      An old Vancouver mansion where ghosts are claimed to have made appearances is up for redevelopment.

      Gabriola Mansion at 1523 Davie Street is proposed to be converted into apartment units.

      In September last year, the West End neighbourhood estate was in the news after the body of murdered Japanese student Natsumi Kogawa was found inside.

      A Halloween party was held about a month later at the vacant 17,486-square-foot home.

      Built between 1900 and 1901 by B.T. Rogers, founder of B.C. Sugar, the mansion has gone through a number of transformations throughout its history.

      It became the Angus Apartments in the years following the death of Rogers. During the 1970s, the mansion named after the stones quarried from Gabriola Island with which it was built was turned into the Hy’s Mansion restaurant.

      In the 1990s, the Victorian home served as Romano’s Macaroni Grill. It is said to have been vacant since 2008.

      In 2015, the property was sold to Nevin Sangha of Carrera Management Corp.

      “As an expert in repurposing older buildings, Carrera has plans to restore the stained glass windows, iconic staircase, original custom hardware, and the beautiful foyer fireplace,” the company states on its website. “Soon people will be able to say they live at ‘The Mansion’.”

      The Ghosts of Vancouver website lists Gabriola Mansion as one of the haunted places in the city.

      “When the house was occupied as Hy’s Mansion, some customers saw cutlery levitate in the air,” according to Ghosts of Vancouver’s account. “And when the building housed Romano’s Macaroni Grill, the ghost of a young man was encountered several times. One evening a restaurant manager saw the man standing at the top of the grand staircase. The ghost looked down at him with a blank expression. When the manager started up the stairs, the man vanished.

      “Sometime later, a sous chef working late one night on his own heard the sounds of someone in the kitchen, banging pots and pans. When he went to investigate, there was nobody there. Only a mess of kitchenware remained. He was so frightened that he raced out of the building.

      “On another occasion, an interior painter worked alone in the restaurant late one night. While up a ladder, he sensed that somebody was nearby, watching him. When he turned his head he saw an older gentleman standing by the banister of the grand staircase. He asked the man what he was looking for, but the man didn’t respond. The painter descended the ladder to confront him. But by the time he got to the bottom the man was gone without a sound. Like the sous chef, the painter dropped everything and fled the building.”

      “Was this older man the ghost of Benjamin Rogers?” the Ghosts of Vancouver site owned by Greg Mansfield, a ghost investigator, speculated. “This seems unlikely as Rogers was only 52 years old when he died. Perhaps this spirit is of one of many tenants who lived in the building when it was an apartment complex. Or maybe he’s one of the Rogers’ illustrious visitors from 100 years ago, strolling around this most extraordinary property.”

      Ankenman Marchand Architects has submitted a proposal on behalf of the property’s new owner to convert the mansion into 16 rental apartments.

      Four new rental townhouses are also proposed to be built and will be located at the northeast corner of the 25,937-squre-foot lot.

      An open house about the redevelopment plan will be held today (June 8) between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Best Western Plus Sands (1755 Davie Street).