Chinatown: Open House

Property: 500 Block of Carrall Street

For Katherine Dodds, living in Chinatown for over 20 years has meant having a home and office in one place.

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Last year, she moved within her historic building in the 500 block of Carrall Street one floor up to a 3,100-square-foot, two-bedroom rental suite. Her unique apartment is both her home and headquarters for her social change marketing company, Hello Cool World.

Dodds preferred not to say how much she pays for her unit, but similar spaces in the area go for $2,000 a month and up.

The space is large enough for both her living needs and her company’s frequent photo and video shoots, meaning Dodds doesn’t have to rent out a separate space.

“Most importantly though is that it’s cool,” she told the Courier by email.

The unit has undergone minimal renovations. The 1,000-square-foot main room that dominates the suite has its original hardwood floors.

The bedrooms in the living area behind the main room have bay windows that overlook Shanghai Alley, the birthplace of Chinatown. A long but private balcony provides a view of Carrall and Chinatown to the east.

“I love the character, the high ceilings and the creative possibilities here,” said Dodds.

Her landlord, the Lim Sai Hor Kow Mock Benevolent Association, bought the building in 1945.

The narrow brick and wood, four-storey (including the mezzanine between the first two floors) structure was built in 1903 to house members of the Chinese Empire Reform Association — the richest Chinese merchants in Vancouver.

“I like the way this part of town has more history than most ‘hoods. I can’t imagine living anywhere else in town,” Dodds said.

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