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Ex-student aims for near-record Vancouver mansion deal

Hanying Chen runs a boutique theatre production company and could set a record sale for a single residential lot sale in Vancouver should negotiations exceed expectations.
4868 Drummond Dr., Vancouver.

A Vancouver mansion listed for a near-record price is not being sold by a student, according to the listing's realtor.

The $39.9-million listing for 4868 Drummond Dr. raised eyebrows on social media this month not just because of the price but because the owner’s stated occupation is a “student.”

However, Hanying Chen was only a student in 2012, when she paid $14.68 million cash for the seven-bedroom home in West Point Grey. While she continued to be a student in 2015, according to the most recent land title record, Chen is no longer in school, says her realtor Vivian Li of Sutton Group-West Coast Realty. 

Rather, the title was never updated and Chen now works as the founder and director of Circle Bright Productions, a live theatre and arts company that launched in 2018. 

Glacier Media had reached out to Chen via her company and she had Li speak to the sale on her behalf. Li said Chen is dedicated to building the production company, which has no address online but is registered in a Trump Tower condo unit owned by Chen.

Circle Bright states it develops “accessible theatre and youth program for English and Chinese-speaking communities in Canada.”

It also translates English acts into Mandarin. In 2018, it had an inaugural production at Gateway Theatre in Richmond. Last March Chen organized a charity concert titled “One World One Love - China and Canada” for Unicef Canada’s COVID-19 response, and raised close to $3,000.

The home’s sale price inches toward what is believed to be a record sale for one single residential property in Vancouver — a cash sale of $42 million for 4743 Belmont Ave., just a stone’s throw away from Chen’s listing.

Sotheby’s International Real Estate told CTV News in July the “Belmont Estate” was the highest price ever paid in the Lower Mainland for a single residential lot. CTV reported a numbered company directed by Peter Chung, a doctor who is CEO of Primacorp Ventures, bought the property. Primacorp claims online to be “Canada’s largest independent provider of private post-secondary education.”

The top residential deal in Vancouver continues to be the $51.8-million sale of 4787 Drummond Dr. in 2015 to Chinese tycoon Mailin Chen, a developer and hotelier who is also a member of a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which directs the United Front Work Department, a foreign propaganda and influence network of the Chinese Communist Party.

However, Mailin Chen’s property on Drummond (in 2015, he owned 13 Vancouver-area properties) is situated on three lots, so realtors do not consider it a record price for one single lot, as is the case for the one on Belmont.

Mailin Chen’s home is kitty corner to Chen’s home, which Li said is a “family holding.”

Asked if the two Chens are related, Li said she could not disclose personal information.

Li said she does not expect a bidding war on the property but rather negotiations among those interested.

The 58,632-square-foot lot comes with an annual tax bill of $101,897.

A realtor’s commission on a $40-million sale would be $653,255.

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