Call 250-682-0158 Login or Sign Up

The challenge of renovating a heritage castle in Moncton, N.B.,for less than an East Vancouver bungalow.

Castle Manor

A Vancouver owner who wishes to remain nameless has taken up the challenge of renovating a heritage castle in Moncton, N.B., that went on the market earlier this year for less than an East Vancouver bungalow.

Jay Tse is a Moncton-based, semi-retired contractor with family ties in Vancouver. Much of his family is involved with real estate and construction.

“That’s what we talk about — construction and how much real estate is in Vancouver and in Moncton — and the topic of the castle came up because at that time, it was for sale,” said Tse, noting media reports about the peculiar property had caught the eye of a Vancouver relative.

In January, The Province wrote a story comparing the price of East Van bungalows to the 107-year-old Castle Manor in Moncton, N.B.

While many B.C. bungalows were priced north of $700,000, the Moncton castle — with 54 rooms and 12-foot ceilings spread over 19,000 square feet — came in at under $700,000.

“By Vancouver standards, it was very economical and that’s how we all started,” Tse said.

A Vancouver relative then became interested in buying the castle and asked Tse to look into the property on their behalf, and to consider taking on the renovations.

“I think they found it very interesting because of the history and the tradition of the castle in Moncton, and they asked me to think seriously about it,” Tse told The Province.

“I discouraged them because it’s not an easy project, as you know. It’s a heritage building and there were a lot of issues associated with a project this size and the extent of renovations.”

Following the sale, Tse said it took a few months to clear up legal paperwork and secure the right permits for the renovations.

The local community has also grown attached to the castle, which Tse said has challenged him to find the right balance between honouring the history of the castle, while also moving forward with renovations that will “make it last at least another 100 years.”

“That was the first huge stumbling block, but after that, it’s just a beautiful old building that needs a lot of tender loving care,” Tse said, adding the municipality has also been very supportive of the project and has offered extensive help.

For the Vancouver owner, who has asked to remain anonymous, Tse said the castle represented more of a challenge than an investment property.

“If they wanted to make money, there were other things they could do that are much easier,” Tse said, noting the new owner was adamant about buying the castle.

Still, the new owner has no plans to live in Castle Manor.

“I doubt they will move to Moncton — they love Vancouver too much,” Tse said.

Instead, the castle — which used to be a care home but has sat empty for several years — will be converted into a planned 14 high-end market condo units. Tse said the finished product could be ideal for mature professionals at a nearby hospital, professors and mature students at the local university, or retirees in the surrounding area who are looking to downsize but wish to remain in the neighbourhood.

There are no plans to change the stone facade of the castle, other than possibly adding a few windows, and the rest of the designs are still subject to the heritage board’s approval.

Tse and his crew — many of whom have worked with him for 25 years — begin their work on Tuesday, by conducting support-beam and sound- proofing tests. A completion date of Oct. 1, 2015 has been set.

“It’s a challenging but interesting project,” Tse said.

sip@theprovince.com

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Kamloops Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
MLS® MLS REALTOR® Realtor