Vancouver real estate: built by liquor baron and restored by billionaire, $27-million Rosemary Estate awaits new earl

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      It’s been almost a year since one of Vancouver’s grandest homes has been on the market.

      Rosemary Estate still awaits a new owner after it was listed on January 6, 2020.

      The asking price remains the same at $26,988,000.

      The 12-bedroom, 12-bath mansion has a rich heritage.

      According to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, the Shaughnessy property was built between 1912 and 1913.

      “The first owner was lawyer and liquor magnate A.E. Tulk,” the foundation states online, referring to Ontario-born Albert Edward Tulk.

      According to heritage organization, Tulk named the house after his only daughter, Rosemary.

      A newspaper clipping from 1903 describes Tulk as the president and manager of Gold Seal Liquor Co.

      Tulk’s company at the time was the distributor of, among others, Jos. E. Seagrams & Co. whiskeys.

      Gold Seal Liquor Co. was also the B.C. agent of London brewer John Labatt.

      It also represented California’s Napa and Sonoma Wine Co.

      According to the 1903 clipping, Tulk made Vancouver his home in 1897.

      In a report to the City of Vancouver about Shaughnessy, heritage consultant Donald Luxton recalled that Tulk was one of those who built three of the grandest homes in Shaughnessy.

      One was businessman and politician Alexander Duncan McRae. He built the Hycroft mansion, now home of the University Women’s Club of Vancouver.

      The other was newspaper publisher Walter Cameron Nichol, who became Lieutenant-Governor of B.C. His mansion was called Miramar.

      Going back to Tulk, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation recalls online that the liquor magnate’s house was designed by architecture firm Maclure and Fox.

      “Subsequent occupants were: Lieutenant Governor John William Fordham Johnson (1922-1931), Industrialist/horseman Austin Taylor (1931-1947) and the Order of the Convent of our Lady of the Cenacle (1947-1994),” according to the organization.

      The heritage group went on to relate that the house was sold to Mingfei Zhao in 2014.

      At the time the foundation made that update, the heritage home was being restored by architect Ken Wong and FairTradeWorks Construction.

      CBC picked up the story in 2016, when renovation was going on, with a story titled ‘The new 'Earl' of Shaughnessy breathes life into historic home’.

      The story described the new owner Zhao as a retired property developer from Beijing.

      “Now 60, he admits to a net worth of over $1 billion Cdn and says he chose to retire to Vancouver for the ‘clean air’ and good education for his son,” CBC’s Chris Brown reported.

      At the time, Zhao had already spent $6 million and counting for the restoration of the rundown estate.

      The story stated that Zhao hopes that he can move in within the next year and half, becoming the “new Earl, as it were, of his restored Shaughnessy manor”.

      Based on tracking by real-estate site, the 3689 Selkirk Street property was listed on October 21, 2013 for $12,880,000.

      Zhao purchased the heritage home on January 20, 2014 at $11,010,000.

      According to data, B.C. Assessment’s 2014 valuation of the property was $9,052,000.

      The mansion’s 2020 valuation per B.C. Assessment as of July 1, 2019 is $15,370,000. notes that the estate’s asking price ($26,988,000) to assessed value ($15,370,000) is 1.76.

      The listing by Sotheby's International Realty Canada notes that the property includes a coachhouse with three bedrooms for staff.

      In 1996, the City of Vancouver designated the estate as a protected heritage property.

      The protection applies to the mansion, also formerly known as the Cenacle Convent, the south and west terraces, and the garden pergola.