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

Huge, historic building with uber-cool renovations to go to highest bidder in largely Asian-targeted auction
This former B.C. Electric substation, now a luxury home, will be auctioned on Tuesday March 26, 2019. Photo: Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

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. 

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.

The abandoned BC Electric Sumas Substation in 1965. Image: 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.

BC Electric house great room
This main entertaining great room has all the good stuff, such as gorgeous floors, exposed joists and a statement chandelier. Listing agent: Sara Gillooly

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.

BC Electric house master bedroom
Many of the bedrooms, including this one (which may be the master), enjoy views from unique circular windows. Listing agent: Sara Gillooly

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.

BC Electric house formal living room
This living room is separated from one of the great rooms by an uber-trendy sliding barn door in distressed metal. Listing agent: Sara Gillooly

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.

Check out more photos of this one-of-a-kind property, below.


BC Electric house family room
A less formal great-room-style space, this family room is divided from its dining area by a bar. Listing agent: Sara Gillooly


BC Electric house dining room
One of several dining areas, this space encapsulates the mix of luxury and industrial styles achieved in the renovation. Listing agent: Sara Gillooly


BC Electric house office
This office has more of those charming porthole windows. Listing agent: Sara Gillooly


BC Electric house exterior back
The size of the substation is very impressive from the rear lawns. Listing agent: Sara Gillooly


BC Electric house deck
This huge deck is one of four and has a serene, forested outlook. Listing agent: Sara Gillooly


BC Electric house deck views
The home enjoys gorgeous views from one of four decks. Listing agent: Sara Gillooly

– With files from Vancouver is Awesome