B.C. Electric substation-turned-luxury-home up for auction (PHOTOS)


It looks like this incredibly unique home, which has been on and off (mostly on) the market for years, is a bit too unusual for most people’s tastes. Having failed to sell yet again, the vendor has turned to online real estate auction house Concierge Auctions to speed up the process.

Sumas Substation, today (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome)

Currently listed on the MLS at $4.99 million, this house is a converted B.C. Electric substation is on a 2.35-acre lot in Abbotsford, sitting on a 30-acre greenbelt forest with a river flowing beside the house. At 12,993 square feet of interior living space, the current price per square foot may be considered a bargain by some, and the auction being held by Concierge Auctions may see it sold for even less.

Concierge Auctions is an international real estate auction house, based in New York. The company openly targets is marketing efforts to Asian buyers, and the Sumas Powerhouse auction is part of its March Sale, which is a portfolio of luxury global properties for its bidders to choose from. Other B.C. properties to have been marketed by Concierge include this chateau-style home in Whistler and this Mid-century Modern home in Vancouver. Concierge has enjoyed internationally famous clients from among Hollywood and sporting elite, but has also seen some legal issues, having to fight off allegations of creating fraudulent bids, according to the Wall Street Journal.

No-reserve bidding on the Sumas Powerhouse on Old Yale Road in Abbotsford starts Tuesday, March 26, at 2pm PST. The buyer will pay a 12 per cent premium on top of the purchase price for Concierge’s services.

Known colloquially as “The Power House,” the historic building at 39623 Old Yale Road was built in 1906 by the B.C. Electric Corporation. The Power House, made of concrete, steel, and brick, housed all the equipment for powering the Fraser Valley Line of Vancouver’s vast interurban longer-haul commuter and cargo streetcar system, connecting Vancouver with Chilliwack and communities in between.

sumas substation power house
The abandoned BC Electric Sumas Substation in 1965 (Northern BC Archives)

The substation was abandoned for many years, but was purchased several times in the past few decades and has been converted into a huge home. In recent years, it was extensively renovated in a high-end, industrial-chic style – think exposed brick walls and steel beams, sliding metal barn doors, floor-to-ceiling loft-style windows and acid-stained concrete floors.

The home now has eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, two large lofts, five (yes, five) kitchens, expansive living and dining areas, a theatre, an elevator, a 1,000-bottle wine cellar and four large balconies.

And if you were thinking all that square footage means you could share the cost of that mortgage, you’d be right. There are two separate rental apartments as well as a third legal rental suite with two bedrooms in the main home.

Following its renovation, the property was listed twice in 2017 for nearly $5 million, but did not sell at the time. Records show that it sold on the MLS in 2007 for $725,000 – a long time before the renovations that turned it into the home it is today.

Located in the Sumas Prairie area just 10 minutes from the Sumas U.S. border crossing, this property was valued in July 2018 at $2,196,000, up from the previous year’s assessment of $2,063,000. Property taxes in 2018 were $10,803, and the house would lease for around $14,000 a month.

Guest bedroom (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome)
Details like the barn-style door closure and pulleys tie to the building’s long history and prior use (Photo via RE/MAX All Points Realty)
This is the home theatre room inside the Power House (Photo via RE/MAX All Points Realty)
Main living area (Photo via RE/MAX All Points Realty)
You can see the concrete floors, the elevator installed in place of a previous shaft, the stairs–including a post at the landing that is adapted from the original (Photo via RE/MAX All Points Realty)
Rear of the property (RE/MAX All Points Realty)
The owners went to great lengths to have the letters replaced and restored (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome)

With files from Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome