A 20-acre farm in East Richmond that was assessed at less than $85,000 has sold for more than $9 million, theBreaker has learned.
In June, real estate agent Layla Yang announced the sale of 13000 Blundell Road on Twitter. “My sellers Mark and Dan finally retired from here,” she wrote. Yang originally promoted her listing as an $11 million “investment opportunity” in a January 2015 Tweet. The asking price was reduced to $9.68 million. The declared value is $9.2 million.
The identity of the buyer was a mystery for more than four months, until theBreaker found a recent update to the land titles database.
The farm is now registered to 2014-incorporated Jia Xin Da Investment Management Co. Ltd. The Bank of Montreal mortgage was registered Oct. 30.
Jia Xin Da is located at a $2.163 million condominium in the posh Private Residences at Hotel Georgia. The only officer listed for Jia Xin Da in the corporate registry is Xuan Ming Wu. Nobody answered when theBreaker called the listed phone number for Xuan Ming Wu.
The farm had been registered to My Glory Farms Ltd., formerly known as Mike’s Plastering Contractors Ltd. Michael David Drozdowski of Surrey and Daniel Drozdowski of Richmond are the company’s officers. Gross taxes were $397.84 last year on the $84,264-assessed property, according to City of Richmond.
My Glory Farms also previously owned 8600 Sidaway, which is valued at $3.27 million and registered to Ming Qiang Andon Pan. That property is north of the 13,000-square foot farmland mansion at 8880 Sidaway registered to Wen Feng. Authorities believe it was the site of an illegal casino, so the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office is applying to seize the $4.95 million property.
Under pressure from Richmond residents, city council voted in May to limit the size of new mansions built on farmland to 10,763 square feet. Coun. Harold Steves said the bylaw was referred back to staff, with a view to reducing the limit.
“Of nine houses on large farms, six of them in the last six months came in at over 10,000 square feet,” said Steves, a West Richmond farmer. “These aren’t farmers, they’re people are looking at developing huge manasions they couldn’t build elsehwere. Farmland is cheap.”
Steves, who co-founded the Agricultural Land Reserve as an NDP MLA in the 1970s, believes some of the mansions are operating as illegal hotels for Chinese tourists, including pregnant mothers seeking instant Canadian citizenship for their offspring. Whatever farming that may continue is nominal and aimed at paying artificially low taxes, he said.
On Oct. 5, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver tabled a private members’ bill to amend the Property Law Act. Weaver is proposing to ban foreign entities from buying land over five acres in the ALR without prior permission from cabinet.
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