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Rosemary Seaton, James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch, Seumas Dawes, Richard Simeon...more, Faye Richwhite, Bob Ell, Christina Patterson, Paul Keating, Mark Manners
A cut above the rest – the era of Sydney mega-mansions far from over: Title Tattle
Just because billionaire developer Bob Ell has abandoned plans to build on his 4,397-square-metre, four-lot Cremorne harbourfront doesn't mean the days of the mega-mansion are over.
Indeed, Title Tattle has spotted something quite special happening at Bronte.
The funds manager Seumas Dawes and his wife, Rosemary Seaton, initially spent $12.3 million for a large, modern three-storey residence in 2006. One of the most expensive coastal suburbs in the east, the Bronte property sits along the exclusive strip known as The Cutting. It was a modern five-bedroom residence on the ocean side of Bronte Road overlooking the beach and ocean.
Then earlier this year the couple splashed out with the $16.5 million purchase of the neighbouring house, which they're set to bulldoze.
Weir Phillips Architects are undertaking the 672 square metre works, which include extensive undercover garaging on the newly acquired block, (above right with palm tree) which will have grounds prepared by Formed Gardens. The new works which include gym and cabana, improve the neighbouring contemporary houses's north eastern aspect. It's only going to cost $846,000 apparently, which will take the spend to $29.6 million.
The total holding is the original 801 square metres plus the latest 778-square-metre acquisition.
Dawes, the one-time adviser and private secretary to the former 1980s Federal treasurer Paul Keating during the era of banking deregulation, and his Albury-born partner, Seaton, were Hampstead, London-based on their initial 2006 acquisition.
It was bought from from Christina Patterson, who built a modern house after consolidating two blocks.
Dawes is an old boy of the NSW Right, having been assistant secretary of the NSW ALP from 1983 to 1985.Title Tattle recalls that after quitting Canberra in 1989 for the heady world of merchant banking, Dawes spent time with Faye Richwhite, Merrill Lynch, Paribas and then at Ashmore, the London-based emerging markets fund management business since 2000. He's the senior portfolio manager and member of investment committee at Ashmore Group PLC.
The couple's previous home in Sydney was sold for $640,000 in 1999.
Back to Bob Ell, whose company, Leda Holdings, has listed the building blocks (above and below) that come with permission for a nine-bedroom house with two pools on its 4,397-square-metre holding.
It is one of the largest waterfront properties on the north shore. Offers are due March 12.
"Approval is in place for the construction of a 2,739-square-metre home of extraordinary calibre presiding over its exclusive waterfront position," says the marketing.
"Our strategy initially is to target the Chinese market both locally and internationally," says listing agent Richard Simeon of Richardson & Wrench.
The $12 million scheme includes a rooftop tennis court with a retractable fence and parking for eight cars.
"Masterfully conceived, the one-of-a kind residence features such remarkable amenities as a guest house, caretaker's house, two pools, N/S tennis court, gym, billiard room, home theatre and office whilst still enjoying over 1000sqm of level lawns and garden," the R&W advertisement says.
"With Laurie's Sutton's recent sale at 10 Bay Street Mosman for $20 million we have expectations of early to mid-$20 millions," Simeon told Property Observer.
They will try to find a buyer in one line.
Simon Clausen, who debuted on 2009's BRW Rich List with a $180 million fortune after selling his software company, PC Tools, was another high-flyer who spent big on residential consolidation. Clausen outlayed $31 million between 2008 and 2009 consolidating three adjoining Balmoral Slopes properties. The adjoining properties with direct views out towards Sydney Heads included a since demolished new home that was sold by developer Albert Bertini, onetime star of The Secret Millioniare. But the bulk of the 3,180 square metre site amalgamation has been offloaded as he know spends most of his time overseas. He retains the heritage home that cost $12 million in 2009.
The real battle for mega-mansion is between media tycoon scions James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch.
Lachlan Murdoch's Bellevue Hill mansion Le Manoir is undergoing works that exceed a $10 million spend.
Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch's Le Manoir, the 1928 Bellevue Hill estate, began with the $23 million outlay in late 2009. They also spent $2.63 million on an adjoining property in 2010.
The SJB architectural plans approved by Woollahra Council were for an $11.6 million redevelopment. That's $34.6 million.
It involves alterations and additions to the existing mansion plus a new pool and pool house. It includes "construction of a new garage with security access areas with subterranean access to the dwelling". Underground appears vital for mega-mansions.
James Packer is doing his Batcave-style security fortress set-up too out at Vaucluse, (pictured above and below) and that building contract could be many times dearer than Murdoch's. The furniture delivery trucks started arriving this week out in Vaucluse.
It was 2009 when Packer and his wife, Erica, lodged their plans for the $11.4 million Tzannes Associates makeover and extension to the 1972 landmark Guilford Bell house at Vaucluse. The Packers engaged the University of Melbourne professor of architecture, Philip Goad, as a consultant. Goad wrote a chapter in the 1999 book on Bell, whose clientele was drawn from a who's who of the establishment.
Bell designed another Packer family home, the now demolished Hordern House at Point Piper, which was eventually replaced by the John Symond house.
The Packers bought the hillside 2374 square metre Vaucluse property from the executors of the estate of the oil shale pioneer Sir Ian McFarlane for $18 million, then added another two blocks which allowed for their innovative underground wing. The extra land cost $12 million adding 985 square metres to the property.
The official tally comes to $41.4 million for the Packers. Ofcourse at Cairnton, the family's Bellevue Hill fiefdom, the Packers made nine separate acquisitions since the original purchase in 1935 by James Packer's late grandfather, Sir Frank. These have cost about $9.1 million.
The Mark at Sydney's Central Park
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Those who take the time to do some research before tossing a few hundred thousand at an investment property tend to focus on demand, with scant regard for the flipside of the growth equation.