The $12.8 million house at 587 Vancouver Avenue in Penticton, nominated for several International Design Awards, is described as a property that “has been designed with an obsessive level of attention to detail.” (Jon Adrian / Kevin Chen Realty)

The $12.8 million house at 587 Vancouver Avenue in Penticton, nominated for several International Design Awards, is described as a property that “has been designed with an obsessive level of attention to detail.” (Jon Adrian / Kevin Chen Realty)

$12.8 million Okanagan home listing sparks racist, hateful comments

Realtor Kevin Chen reported threats made against him to police

A luxury home in Penticton listed for sale at $12.8 million has sparked many racist comments, including a threatening email against the realtors who listed the property.

The house, located at 587 Vancouver Avenue, listed by Kevin Chen and Matt Zhang from Vancouver-based Oakwyn Realty, has been on the market for almost a year now.

However, it wasn’t until the home was featured by the online Vancouver news publication Daily Hive that Chen and Zhang began to draw the ire of some locals.

Since the Daily Hive story ran in December 2020, Chen and Zhang have been subject to a slew of racist and hateful comments and remarks from Penticton locals.

In one case, an email sent directly to Chen Saturday, April 24, suggested that he “should be shot,” alleged he was involved in money laundering and threatened “dire consequences” should he not return to China.

Chen, who grew up in Canada and is originally from Taiwan, said he was taken aback by the email but not shocked considering the amount of anti-Asian racism seen in Canada recently.

Chen reported the email to the Penticton RCMP but so far no progress has been made on contacting the person who made the threats, according to Zhang. The Western News has reached out to the Penticton RCMP for more information but, has not yet received a response.

Zhang, who has also lived in Canada his entire life, said the email is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the racist and hateful sentiments they’ve had thrown at them since the Daily Hive story ran.

The racism is particularly perplexing to Zhang considering the home’s current owner is a Caucasian, Canadian man.

“We were just selected to list the house for him and ever since we listed it, if you look at the comments on the Daily Hive story, it’s been all racist comments,” Zhang said.

Zhang also noted that as realtors he and Chen are obligated to verify they are not dealing with potential money launderers through the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

“At the end of the day, we’re just the agents who are listing it. The owner is Canadian and we have verified the source. The client wanted to sell his dream home, and we’re here to market it to our best ability, it’s as simple as that,” Zhang said.

Anti-Asian racism has been on the rise in Canada since the start of the pandemic. In Vancouver, police data shows anti-Asian hate crimes have risen by 717 per cent since the start of the pandemic.

READ MORE: B.C. premier calls for action on hate crimes in wake of Vancouver police report

“Even since COVID, the surging racism in Vancouver and Canada has been insane,” Zhang said. “Honestly, at first, I just feel bad for those people (who make racist comments).

“It’s like ‘what did someone from my race do to you to make you assume all these terrible things about us?’ It’s just so unnecessary.”

Zhang said he understands if the property isn’t for everyone.

“It’s overkill but in the best ways possible, but if you think it’s too much just say that. Not everyone thinks the Mona Lisa is beautiful and that’s okay.

When you start bringing race into it and all these negative stigmas toward a certain race and just assuming that this person is Chinese and has dirty, laundered money, that’s where you cross the line… you’re just assuming those things because it’s expensive.”

The house is described as being “more like a boutique hotel than a residential home” and features seven patios spanning over 2,500 square feet, over $1 million worth of marble, over $1 million of custom furniture and an emerald green marble garage with a custom vehicle turntable.

“With 587 Vancouver Avenue, you’re not only purchasing a property, you’re buying a landmark, an architectural masterpiece with a priceless view,” reads the home’s website.

The home has received international recognition, including being one of the front runners for 2020’s “best luxury property international” and “best luxury property Canada” by the U.K.-based Design El Al Awards magazine.

“Everything in this house is designed with a level of detail that I’ve never seen in Canada,” Zhang said. “It’s one of those houses you really have to visit and see in person in order to appreciate it.”

To see more pictures and find out more about the property at 587 Vancouver Ave., visit the website for the listing at 587vancouver.com.

READ MORE: ‘No more hate and hurt’ was the message at Penticton rally against Asian racism



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

racismReal estate

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

John Pavelich’s 83rd birthday had an added surprise; members of Enderby City Council came by his residence to present him with a Lifetime Civic Merit award Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Enderby resident unwraps Lifetime Civic Merit award on 83rd birthday

John ‘JP’ Pavelich has been a pillar of volunteerism in Enderby since 1967

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

The Vernon Vipers defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 3-1 to secure the top spot in the BC Hockey League Vernon pod Friday, May 7, 2021. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
VIDEO: Vipers beat Salmon Arm, clinch top spot in BCHL Vernon pod

Goaltender James Porter Jr. was a wall for the Vipers, who outscored the Silverbacks 3-1 Friday

VSAR’s Air Rescue One unit assisted in a rescue in West Kelowna May 3, 2021. (VSAR screenshot)
VIDEO: VSAR’s Air Rescue One team assists in West Kelowna Rescue

The Vernon Search and Rescue helicopter team pulled off a successful rescue Monday

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Most Read