Driving along Granville, it’s easy to overlook the sprawling property on the west side of the street at 57th.
It’s largely hidden by a hedge, trees and a heritage stone wall, although marketing signs posted outside call attention to the fact it will soon become more noticeable.
The 10-acre site, formerly known as Shannon Mews, features a heritage mansion, gatehouse, coach house and 162 rental units in low-rise apartments, but it's being turned into a denser, mixed-use development called Shannon Wall Centre Kerrisdale.
Wall Financial Corporation owns the property and Rennie Marketing Systems is marketing it. Previews for phase one started Jan. 19 — the presentation centre is in the mansion. Sales and construction on phase one are expected to start soon.
The property was Shannon Dairy Farm in the early 1900s, according to historical information from Rennie Marketing. B.T. Rogers of Rogers Sugar bought it in 1912. The gatehouse and stone wall were built in 1913, while construction started on the mansion and coach house in 1915 and was completed in 1925. The Rogers family sold the land to mining magnate Austin Taylor in 1935. Peter Wall bought the property in 1967 for $750,000. In 1975, heritage status was granted to the mansion and stone wall.
Re-zoning for the site was controversial — council approved it in July 2011 following three days of hearings, during which critics, including members of Shannon Mews Neighbours' Association, raised issues such as density concerns.
All three heritage buildings — the mansion, coachhouse and gatehouse, are being restored. Of the 68 properties being sold in phase one, eight will be in the mansion and four are in the coachhouse. The gatehouse will be a standalone home. Forty-one residences will be in two new buildings, Churchill House and Cartier House. Prices in those buildings are expected to range from just above $360,000 for the smallest unit in Cartier House, of which there are few, to more than $1.2 million for a townhouse in Churchill House.
A seven-storey building with 214 rental units and commercial space is being constructed on the property at the corner of Granville and 57th.
Numbers of units for phase two are still being finalized.
Bob Rennie of Rennie Marketing Systems said the development is appealing to residents of high-end properties in the area.
“It’s satisfying a need for people who live in Shaughnessy and Kerrisdale that don’t want to leave the community,” he said. “That, I think, will be 50 per cent of the buyers.”
He said he's not marketing offshore. Asked how he thinks the development will change the community, Rennie said: “It’s 32 per cent site coverage, so 68 per cent of the land is park and garden — the same as it is now. All the housing that’s there now, other than the mansion, the little coach house and the gatehouse — everything else is being torn down. So as far as open space, that’s still there. I don’t think it’ll really be noticed, but that’s not as a salesman — it’s a walled community and it doesn’t stand out the way the Safeway does at 70th and Granville. [That's] barren, whereas here [there’s] the focus on the trees and landscaping and that wall. It all stays in place. Will it add some vibrancy with more people out walking and using the neighbourhood? Yes.”
He added that the building at the corner of Granville and 57th be most visible driving north along Granville.
"So that will be a visual change. I don’t think it’ll be any harsher on the urban landscape than the rows of townhouses that we see on Oak and Granville coming up now,” he said.