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Cook Street condo opens up new world for empty nesters

4 1 9

A window seat built into an alcove has always been a place to dream, at least for heroines in classic novels.

Steve and Carole Hutchinson are relishing their own window seat perch in their 1913-vintage suite overlooking Beacon Hill Park. The stylish condo has made them enthusiastic converts to city life.

Unlike larger and denser cities, Victoria has relatively few heritage apartment buildings, making them sought after as condos.

Constructed in 1913 by architect/builder George C. Mesher for dentist Dr. Arthur Pallant, the three-storey building has an elegant bellcast roof and an exterior of pebble-dash stucco with Tudor-style timbered details.

Casement windows with the original single-pane glass topped with leaded diamond panes add to the old-world ambience of the 16-unit complex.

Pallant had wealthy tenants in mind when he planned the building he called Park Mansions (it was renamed Hampton Court, spelled out in stained glass in the transom window above the front door). The tenants were certainly pampered by today’s standards. They all had electric buzzers to summon servants from their quarters in the basement.

In the 1950s, Pallant’s family sold it to the Duke of Westminster, whose investment group has significant real estate holdings in Vancouver. Resold in 1968, the building had few owners before it was converted to strata ownership in 1984.

Not all owners were sympathetic to its heritage value. The building was almost demolished in 1976, but was saved by the tenants, who heard about the owner’s plans and alerted city........

© Times Colonist