Big Fat Deal: $19 million for a Shaughnessy mansion with spicy backstory

Each week, BCBusiness takes you inside one of the most outrageously upmarket real estate offerings in the province

Each week, BCBusiness takes you inside one of the most outrageously upmarket real estate offerings in the province


Address: 3333 The Crescent, Shaughnessy

Price: $18,880,000

MLS: R2143192

The skinny: Ten-bedroom, six-bathroom, 11,598-square-foot historic mansion on a one-acre lot in First Shaughnessy.

The bling: Grab a brew, pull up a pew, and settle in: this one’s got game. Rattle an old house, and you can be sure you’ll rouse at least a couple of skeletons. It’s all good fodder for dinner party chit-chat, after all. But buckle up, baby, because your soirées are about to get seriously spiced up. First the respectable: built in 1912, this mock-Tudor mansion was originally built for Walter Nichol, former owner of the Province newspaper and once B.C.’s lieutenant–governor. It has since passed through very rich hands, including those of various mining and lumber magnates, who kept it pristine and polished, and in the kind of shipshape heritage homage that keeps nostalgia in business. But its fortunes have taken a rockier road since it was sold for $7 million in 2005 to a developer (gasp!) who drew outrage by cutting the garden in half and building a whole street’s worth of townhouses. I mean, come on: this is First Shaughnessy—rich, exclusive…First! No wonder this house now holds secrets more salacious than Donald Trump’s bathrobe (oh yes, he does so wear one). Let’s catch you up: after it was flipped for $13.6 million, then $14.6 million, the most recent owner paid an undisclosed sum for it in 2015. The owner—Gang Yuan—never lived in it, preferring to stay in his other mansion in West Van where he housed his cousin and her husband, Li Zhao. That may not have been his wisest move: Li Zhao is accused of murdering his host, chopping him up into a hundred pieces in an alleged fit of greed. (To add further ignominy to a tawdry tale, the accused man’s daughter starred in the reality TV show Ultra Rich Asian Girls, passing off the West Van house, Yuan’s private island and Bentley, as her own.) Seriously, buy this house and, come May, you’ll be dining out on the grisly details when the case comes to trial. Everyone is going to want a piece of you. Well, not literally (one hopes).

The hidden extras: Enough space to build a media room, fitness studio, swimming pool, heli-pad and every other “must-have” modern convenience; or a money pit just waiting for you to plow your deep pockets into restoring the house to its former glory. You choose.

And for a sneak peek at lifestyles of the Vancouver rich and famous in the early 20th century check out these City of Vancouver Archives photos included in the listing.