3200 Clam Bay Rd., Pender Island, B.C.
Asking price: $19.8-million
Taxes: $29,027 (2023)
Lot size: 104 acres
Agents: Nicole Eastman, Paul Hague, Christa Elizabeth Frosch, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada
Global investment strategist Kiril Sokoloff has gained a reputation for making bold calls over the decades.
As the founder and chairman of 13D Research & Strategy LLC, some of his major themes revolved around disruptive technologies, oil production, and the growing economic power of China.
About 20 years ago, Mr. Sokoloff says, he began to become increasingly worried about pandemics, extreme weather events and social unrest.
While he delved into the implications for investing, he began looking for a sanctuary.
“I wanted a place that I could go to where I could be safe and secure with my family,” Mr. Sokoloff recalls.
Canada’s West Coast seemed like a good place to start, says the U.S.-born investor, who considered British Columbia one of the most beautiful places in the world and Vancouver one of the most livable cities.
Mr. Sokoloff’s search led him to the Gulf Islands, where he found a sustainable, organic farm dating to 1874 at the north end of Pender Island. The 104-acre property includes one kilometre of oceanfront, with rocky cliffs rising from a tidal beach.
Two of the early landowners were Spencer Percival and Neptune Grimmer, according to Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. The farm went on to have various owners through the years, including a retired mathematics teacher who named the property AfterMath.
Later, an Air Canada pilot kept a small plane on the land and commuted to work at Vancouver International Airport. A new owner took over the property in 1981 and built a biodynamic farm.
After that, an Alberta businessman operated the property as an agrotourism business with accommodations, a wedding venue and a 5.5-acre vineyard.
When Mr. Sokoloff purchased Clam Bay Farm in 2011, there was an existing farmhouse, along with accommodations for farm workers, a barn and a beach house, among other outbuildings.
“I loved the fact that it was a farm and self-sufficient,” he says.
The estate today
After purchasing the land, Mr. Sokoloff began looking for a local architectural practice with a depth of knowledge and experience in building for the West Coast climate and landscape.
Blue Sky Architecture has garnered numerous awards for its style of contemporary West Coast architecture. The firm has become renowned for its use of curves, swooping roofs and organic forms to create buildings that meld into the landscape.
Mr. Sokoloff commissioned architects Kim Smith and Bo Helliwell to design a new family residence on a point of land jutting into the Salish Sea.
A few years were spent lining up the permits, he says, which included having the property rezoned from agri-tourism to residential.
Point House, finished in 2020, provides five bedrooms and six bathrooms in 6,603-square-feet of living space.
A long driveway winds through the property to a house of stone, glass and wood designed with a combination of conventional framing and timber framing.
“Great care was taken to shape the dynamic yet gentle form of the building,” the architects say in describing the project. “Sitting very naturally, conforming to the lines of the forested hill, the point and the sea, it is always changing as one walks through and around the building.”
At the centre, an indoor-outdoor space divides the plan into social and family spaces on one side with guest and service space on the other.
The combined living room and dining room is a soaring, arched space topped by a ceiling of Douglas fir. The split granite fireplace anchors the room at one end and a wall of glass optimizes views of the sea.
Throughout the house, floors are finished with wide plank white oak and stone tiles.
From the water, the building is barely visible, Mr. Sokoloff says.
“It’s very much blended into the environment.”
Today the property includes the farm, vineyard, acres of untouched old growth forest, a pond, a sawmill, a water treatment plant and a powerful generator.
While the house was under construction, Mr. Sokoloff spent time around the orchards, greenhouses and gardens each summer.
“We used to go and bring in the grapes,” he says of visits to the vineyard with his three daughters.
Hiking trails wind through the property, and the house sits on a meadow surrounded by arbutus, fir and maple trees. One Douglas fir on the land is 800 years old, Mr. Sokoloff adds.
The vineyard, planted with ortega, pinot noir and siegerrebe grapes, is leased to Sea Star Winery.
The estate has a 260-foot pier stretching through the shallows to the deeper waters of Davidson Bay, and a commercial-grade 50-foot dock to accommodate sailboats, power boats and sea planes.
Ferries from Victoria and Vancouver run to Pender Island’s Otter Bay daily. Sea planes, chartered from Vancouver, can reach the property in about 20 minutes, and there’s room to land a helicopter on site.
Mr. Sokoloff is often described as a contrarian, but he chuckles at the label. There are times when it pays to be a contrarian and times to do nothing, he says. At other times he switches between bullish and bearish as the big picture changes, as it has with oil prices over the years.
Looking back to the early 2000s, Mr. Sokoloff’s fears of pandemics, extreme weather and water shortages turned out to be prescient, he acknowledges.
His change in perspective now stems from the fact his younger daughters have started school in Switzerland and the family’s centre of gravity has shifted to Europe.
They can no longer spend two or three months a year on the island and Mr. Sokoloff hopes a new owner will enjoy the tranquillity.
“Pender itself is just a beautiful place,” he says.
The best feature
The sea life along the coast is amazing, says Mr. Sokoloff.
The waters surrounding Pender Island are home to otters, sea lions, seals, porpoises and shorebirds. Orcas and humpback whales sometimes pass through the channel.
“The site was so spectacular,” he says of his choice to set the house on the point. “You can see Mount Baker in the distance and the whales coming by.”
As a follower of the principles of feng shui, Mr. Sokoloff also appreciates the home’s position overlooking the waters of Navy Channel.
“The energy and the flow of water in a place is very important,” he says. “It’s flowing back and forth and back right in front of you.”